2019 - 2020 : Tales of the Unexpected

12.07.19 - Grimsby Town F.C. Youth Development Association Golf Day

To all intent and purposes the 2019-20 Campaign began at what has become an integral part of the Histon Mariner Campaign, at Grimsby Golf Club, this year on Friday 12th July. Landbeach Mariner Andy Dickson led his depleted band of desperado’s northwards in support of the great efforts of Steve Fenty and his team who organise The Grimsby Town Golf Day, raising funds for The Youth Development Association.
Michael Jolley was the only manager of the 92 League clubs to play 3 scholars in the first team in the 2018-2019 season. The progress being made of so much home-grown talent in and around the first team is testimony to the great work of Neil Woods and his team. The Histon Mariners are proud to be able to “do their bit”.

Mr.Dickson, this year dispensed with a chauffeur, which he declared would ensure dinning at his favoured venue without getting lost in the car park - “no one does it better”.

Surprisingly Mr.D only stopped once for sustenance en route.
However after "the kingsize full English”, he could not resist the sweet display, into which he made considerable inroads.
“An Engine needs stoking”
Prior to commencement, Mr.Pearson proved to be of a sturdy enough constitution to support Mr.D. much to the admiration of golfing aficionados Brian Nunn and Ian Coutts.

It was a great compliment to the Histon Mariner Campaign that such Golfing Legends as Brian and Ian we’re keen to partner Messrs. D & P.

One would not have believed such a glorious sunny day could have been brightened up any more, however the appearance of some of the rich and famous of N.E.Lincs proved such an assumption to be a fallacy. Not only was the day brightened up even more but the level of sporting prowess on display beggared belief.

The Jolley Boyz Quartet would provide stiff/rigor-mortis competition for The Histon Mariners. Judith C., Mike R., Paul and Stuart W., had received expert coaching and guidance from Pete R. who stayed in the clubhouse with a ready supply of tea and bacon rolls, in conference with Histon Mariner Logistic Manager.

Anxious that Judith would adhere to the playing route rather than the tourist route, Team Manager Pete made the shrewd announcement beforehand that Paul would lead as Group Commander with First Mate Stuart in admiral support.

Supisingly Mr.Dickson despite the import of local knowledge and guile, did not lead the Histon Mariners to glory on the course. Afterwards at dinner, he did provide an insightful and illuminating analysis, between oversize courses, to anyone who would listen.

Mr.Pearson having heard much (if not all) before appears a little less attentive than enthralled team mates Ian Coutts and Brian Nunn.
Mr.Pearson commiserates with Brian and applauds his tenacity for ‘sticking it out’.
Mariner Legend Tony Ford was on hand to congratulate Jolley Boyz leg-end Paul for getting round the course.

Amidst the golfing myths and legends, the serious business of the forthcoming season was considered. Histon Mariner Logistics Director passed on the thoughts and ideas of the Chairman to a very appreciative Michael Jolley and Neil Woods.

Such was the intensity of the long, arduous day of dining, golfing and after-dinner speaking, that Mr.Dickson failed to notice that team mates Brian and Ian had successfully slipped away for respite care.

After much analysis and a modicum of liquid refreshment at Dock Beers, The Notts, Smugglers and Willy’s, Mr. Pearson with a final glass of chilled mineral water is able to pass on everyone’s gratitude to Mr.D. who himself, is finally able to relax with a nice warming cup of Ovaltine.

19 / 20.07.19 - Mattie’s Final Pre-season Tour

Mattie invited Histon Mariner Logistics Director and Honorary Director, Ray The Fish for coordinating talks in York in order to keep the Chairman abreast of developments and the ongoing Campaign.

The pace and intensity of proceedings initiated by Mattie continues to inspire, motivate and drive on Histon Mariner Officials. With business being the Order Of The Day little time existed for recreational pursuits on the Friday. The choice of venues proved uplifting and assisted to create an optimistic, realistic outlook for the forthcoming season.

At The Maltings

At The Golden Fleece

At The Lamb & Lion Inn

At The Blue Boar

At The Guy Fawkes Inn

With business essentially completed on the Friday, Mattie encouraged a little ‘down time’ with the possibility of transcending the usual conventional thoughts regarding The Campaign.

Further discussions with Cropper and The Fish.
Mattie encourages Roy Cropper to think ahead, look to the future and prepare to brief the Chairman.

To seal a very productive weekend Mattie encourages Histon Mariner Logistics Manager in a brief moment of relaxation.

The success of the seminars held in York encouraged, The Fish to report to Blundel and confer with The Mighty Mariners prior to the seasons kick-off.
Max Wright, club Captain James McKeown, Michael Jolley and Andrew Limbrick found The Fish’s report stimulating and a helpful input to pre-seasons preparations.

See : www.gameofthepeople.com

03.08.19 Morecambr 0 v 2 GTFC

Opening fixture unattended due to prearranged booking in church for a Christening in Windsor.

  1. Swindon away was hoped for as the first game - would have held out some hope of attending.
  2. With many more games in the season, politics necessitated cards were played correctly.
  3. A perfect place to pray for good fortune.
  4. A Christening on the first weekend of the season - ‘a sign’ ?

10.08.19 GTFC 1 v 1 Bradford City

GTFC v Bradford City Ticket
GTFC v Bradford City Ticket

A great challenge for the first home game, against many people’s favourite for promotion. The Histon Mariners travelled north with cautious optimism and a focused sense of realism.
Considering his efforts in the past week at Whaley Bridge, it was a remarkable effort for The Histon Mariner Director of Urban Regeneration and Engineering Projects (UREP) to travel north. However with new ground rumors prevalent his attendance was welcomed (see, GTFC v Oldham 18-9-2018 last season......!!!)

Enroute to Cleethorpes Mr. O’M discusses with Derby Mariner Dan ongoing developments.

It was no great surprise that news had reached Cleethorpes in advance and the desire to welcome Francis M. was all too evident.

At ‘Think Bubbles’ (Stuart B.’s favourite Women’s Boutique.) local celebrity, Tina, welcomes Mr.O’M.
Outside The Notts Linda thanks Francis O. for his outstanding dedication.
At McMenemys Town Legend Dave Boleyn passes on his thanks.
Dave Roberts from The Mariners Trust and Kitman Paul, raise an ‘Orange Juice’ in support of the UREP Director.
Lloyd Griffiths appears star-struck at meeting Mr.O.
Even after the game Club Captain James McKeown, found time to pass on the players regards to a rather bashful Francis.

A performance that couldn’t fail to raise optimism was a fitting way to start off the home programme. Recently relegated Bradford City we’re heavily tipped before the seasons start, to return to Division 3, and were thought to provide an early indication of Town’s potential.
The evidence would suggest Town can be genuinely optimistic about the forthcoming season.

To say a team should have won is not as realistic as saying a team could have won. The Mighty Mariners were the better team. The Mighty Mariners will not be bullied this season. The Mighty Mariners appear to possess ‘a great dressing room’ and a real desire. The Mighty Mariners went a goal down - heads didn’t drop and unlike recent times looked distinctly able to fight back and score. In fact, The Mighty Mariners were a little unfortunate not to have collected all three points.

All 11 players (and subs) put in a real shift. All should be mentioned but Town looked fairly solid at the back, were very competitive in midfield, look to have a real threat upfront and as ever when called upon the Club Captain fully justified his recent contract extension.

James Hanson’s equaliser should be the first of a decent return over the forthcoming season and his partnership with Matt Green already holds out much hope.

Histon Mariners Man of the Match : (Pick one from many but) MATT GREEN

Post-match the overriding opinion echoed the above script and The Histon Mariners were particularly pleased to renew acquaintance with Melbourne Mariner Dave Kenwery.

Because of an early rail return south, post-match analysis was shortened but intense. At The New Imperial Club, Top Restaurateur Paul, using his insightful and shrewd outlook was keen to point out the role played by Mr. O’Munnelly, to fellow Mariners.

At the same time Daz was hit with a powerful double onslaught of information and was unable to contain his excitement:

  1. The insightful analysis of top restaurateur Paul.
  2. The news announced by 2 old antiques Phillip S. and Sean that the Histon Mariners would be at Headingly for the Test Match the day prior to GTFC v Port Vale, where 2 old antiques, Nick and Daz would also be...!!!

Jolley Times ahead.


League Cup Round 1 - 13.8.19 GTFC 1 v 0 Doncaster Rovers

17.08.19 Forest Green 1 v 0 GTFC

20.08.19 GTFC 2 v 2 Colchester

24.08.19 GTFC 5 v 2 Port Vale

GTFC v Port Vale Ticket
GTFC v Port Vale Ticket

Unfortunately the eagerly anticipated link up of the Histon Mariners with representatives from the New Imperial Club (Daz, Nick and a couple of old antiques) at Headingley the previous day failed to materialise. Excuses given include difficulty of manoeuvre inside the ground, excess intake of energy drinks, poor phone reception, excessive intake of vitamin C, heatstroke, excessive intake of all liquid refreshment and the need to stay close to the latrines. An opportunity missed but we live to confer another day - as did the England team courtesy of Ben Stokes.

Saturday morning continued the gloriously sunny Bank-Holiday week-end. The Mighty Mariners at home, base camp waiting to receive us, fine refreshment venues to be taken advantage of and attentive hospitality at McMenemys supplemented by superb Haddock & Chips masquerading as Whale & Chips..... it couldn’t get any better - could it?

As ever the excellent Kingsway Hotel welcomed The Histon Mariners with Web-Master, Mr.H. and close associate Walter returning to the scene of past adventures. Anxious to take advantage of the weather, they were soon reminiscing about the “good ole days” over a chilled spring water outside Willy’s.

The Webmaster with the benefit of of considerable inside knowledge was able to update Walter on developments.
Likewise at ‘Think Bubbles’, Tina continued to expand on future plans of The Campaign In Cleethorpes and explain the continuing absence of Stuart B. due to Mrs.B’s year long birthday!

Onto the Trust Bar at Blundel where the Logistics Director met The Jolley Boyz to confirm intricate arrangements for forthcoming excursions to Salford and Plymouth... (to be continued).

Meanwhile, the current Webmaster, Mr. H. met previous incumbent Tef Man in order to compare notes. Walter’s admiration was obvious to all...
Mighty Mariner as ever welcomed The Histon Mariners. Walter could barely hide his emotional admiration as the day continued to unfold.
The level of activity was all consuming but amidst the flurry, Squire Hasland displaying immense calm, not only concluded arrangements for his latest entry into Burke’s Peerage but also outlined plans for the trip to Walsall (which worryingly involved a taxi!)
In McMenemys Akeem Rose and Ludvig Ohman were delighted to welcome Histon Mariner duo Kevin and Dave.

At the end of an even first half the teams went in at 1 v 1. Seemingly the current strategy of giving the opposition a goal start continued - the giving nature of Town was certainly to the fore BUT it needs attention and a remedy.

The Chairman reflects on the 1st half with his new friend over cheese & biscuits.

However, unlike last season when a goal down brought forth the doom-mongers to call for team changes, to sack the manager, to out back-room staff, demand a change of ownership (again), to re-emphasise the need for a new ground, to re-organise the ticket-office staff, to change the ground management team, to oust the outdated Trust Committee and the existing bar arrangements, to press the urgency to increase the transfer budget, update all catering facilities inside Blundel and critically change the positioning of the programme seller on the corner outside Blundel opposite MacDonalds, this season there appears to be belief that Town are more resilient with goals in the team and consequently are never out of the game.

Jordon Cook, playing in mid-field equalised from a free kick and reminded fans that there is often a goal in him. Cook provided a creative alternative in mid-field, hopefully an injury free season will enable him to play a full part in the trawl ahead.

The second half moved up from 1st to 4th gear by virtue of a transformed Town. With The Hess seemingly in control, trickery from Moses Ogbu, James Hanson standing firm up front and Matt Green’s rador, sniffing for goals, The Mighty Mariners produced 4 second half goals

  • A poachers finish from Ogbu AND a world-class celebration.
  • From a counter attack, engineered by Pollock’s towering header, Matt Green’s clinical finish was another quality goal which Town fans are starting to get used to from him.
  • Luke Waterfall’s well directed header, re-emphasised Town’s airial presence at set pieces.
  • James Hanson’s controlled finish owed all to the lightning pace and accurate setting up of Max Wright.

The normally stone face professional Chairman, cracks a smile after the 2nd halfs mighty performance.

Histon Mariners Man of the Match : MOSES OGBU

(for the goal celebration alone)

Before the match it was thought the day could not get any better......

.......after the match, The Mighty Mariners were in the play off plaices and Division 4’s highest goal scorers. Lincoln had lost. Scunthorpe had lost. Cambridge had lost. Manure Utd had lost. Continued sunshine at Cleethorpes, analysis and recuperation at the finest refreshment venues still to come.
.......it had got better (and England were still fighting, the Ashes were not lost yet!!!)

Post match, Messrs Hoppett & Thompson, the well known double act, took advantage of a quiet moment in The Trust Bar to reflect on the days proceedings, taking onboard insightful contributions from The Old Gits.

The contribution made to post-match analysis by the The Ole Gits should never be under estimated. It invariably reflects their vast experience accumulated over many many years, their ability to conceptualise proceedings born from their multi-talented abilities across the sporting spectrum, and is always gladly taken on board by the Histon Mariners.
Here Pete, Paul and Stuart (not Mary) risk elevating discussions about “Leaving On A Jet Plane” without any contribution from Judith C.

Jolley Boy Paul took the opportunity to introduce fellow legend James Hansont to the Histon Mariners......
.....whilst Paul continued confidential discussions elsewhere, Jordon Cook thanked Big Dave and the Webmaster for their ongoing efforts.

Ongoing analysis at The New Imperial Club as ever proved enlightened and informative. The whirlwind nature of the days proceedings had at some point to ease-up and no more suitable venue than Dock Beers provided Walter and Mr. H with the appropriate surroundings to rehydrate, recap and fully absorb the days proceedings.

See : Dock Beers

Unrelentingly The Histon Mariners marched onto The Notts and in conference with Senior Cleethorpes Impressario Nigel Lowther, continued to discuss, plan and formulate aspects of future elements of The Campaign.

See : www.gameofthepeople.com

It can only be admired that the self sacrifice, mental torment and physical toll endured by The Histon Mariners is taken on by its members for the collective good. The ongoing support from those often cited in these reports only adds weight (considerable) and experience (decades) to the ongoing efforts and is always appreciated.

Outside Willy’s the intrepid duo finally unwind with a cup of Horlicks before retiring.

N.B. A conspicuous clue suggests that once again Roy Cropper was ‘in the chair’.

The morning after the night before saw a continuation of the magnificent weather. Jake and Elwood took time to partake of the Mediterranean Sunshine - albeit behind significant shades - and bask in the knowledge that “The Band Looked Back Together”

The morning after the night before part 2! Saw the Chairman take a time out on route back home, the excitement of yesterdays game and celebrations into the evening had taken their tole.


League Cup Round 2 - 27.08.19 GTFC v Macclesfield Town

Appreciation of the influence of Town’s latest signing Luke Waterfall has until now probably been underestimated. There can be no doubt from here on in.

The match was abandoned during half-time because of a deluge that left the hallowed turf resembling a rice field.

Town are in the hat for Round 3....!!!

Onwards and Upwards

31.08.19 Walsall 1 v 3 GTFC

GTFC Ticket
Walsall v GTFC Ticket

The first official awayday of the season for The Histon Mariners witnessed their first visit to the home of The Saddlers, the Bescot Stadium which replaced Fellows Park in 1990.

Britains first Wurlitzer theatre organ was unveiled in The New Picture House Cinema Walsall, in 1908. Walsall’s breweries include Beowulf and The Backyard Brewhouse.

Like so many clubs - Bury being simply the latest - Walsall has had its share of off-field shenanigans. From the original amalgamation of Walsall Swifts and Walsall Town in 1888, through to the ‘harebrained’ ground-share scheme with Wolves, which gave rise to to the successful, ‘Save Walsall Action Group’ in 1982.
Walsall acquired Leigh Pomlett as new owner in July 2019 following the end of Jeff Bonser’s 28 year leadership.

Players for both clubs include Chris Nichol, Jordon Cook, Andy Cook and Simeon Jackson. But the stand out footballing connection has to be the management of Alan Buckley whose 1000+ games managed include 337 for Walsall and 600 for The Mighty Mariners. Also as the fruits of Neil Woods labours appear to be growing by the day, his youth work at both clubs should not be underestimated.

Pre-arranged strategic manoeuvres began at Birmingham New Street where Squire Hasland assisted by TefMan appeared naturally at ease ‘in control of proceedings’.

The Post Office Vaults a most agreeable prematch venue.
TM proposes a toast to optimism, which caused some amusement to the Earl.
Enroute to the Bescott, Wakefield Mariner Jason, was astonished at the extent of TefMans optimism who predicted a victory by 2 goals.

The B&W Army (772) once again made its presence felt with cautious optimism to the fore.

The well known double act ‘The Voices Of Reason’, gave the thumbs up for Towns prospects - we thank them both for curtailing their travel arrangements in order to attend together.
Agent 007.5 out of necessity keeping a low profile, witnesses fledgling agent Rebekah’s more open attitude.

The Campaign enthusiastically embraces inter-club relations, no more so than in the current climate exemplified by the fortunes of Bury and Bolton Wanderers. Many other clubs are experiencing very testing circumstances, The Spirites being one. Long standing admirer of The Histon Mariners Campaign has been Chesterfield Joe. It was as ever great to see him at The Bescot Stadium and in particular Akeem Rose’s magnificent gesture in welcoming him on behalf of the The Mighty Mariners.

The Histon Mariners deplore social media attacks on C.J. His admiration of Town’s progress and embracing of The Campaign enables him to feel increasingly at home with The Mariners at a time of turmoil at the Proact Stadium. Cynics may think otherwise but any inheritance due, will be scrupulously administered by The Earl’s Legal and Financial Team ...!

“We’ll give you a lead,
We’ll give you a lead,
We’re Grimsby Town,
  We’ll give you a lead.”

It only took 5 minutes for Town’s benevolence to emerge again. Whilst the soft goal gave the Saddlers a lead, such is the growing feeling within the B&W Army, that “Game on” rather than “Here we go again” appeared to be the order of the day.
The Mighty Mariner response was immediate and Matt Green was soon denied by a great save. Driven on as ever by The Hess and with Elliot Hewitt’s contribution becoming more apparent game by game, Town were the better side in the first half and deserved the equaliser from Elliot Whitehouse.
Unsurprisingly the home side tried to grasp the initiative after the break. Ohman and Waterfall belied the fact that this was the first time their partnership had been tested and Mckeown was not seriously tested.
Matt Green put the ball on a plate for the very impressive James Hanson, to roll back the years and powerfully head Town into the lead.
Substitute Max Wright - in the process of earning the title SuperSub - using his pace won a penalty which Hanson converted and in the process secured another 3 points.

Grimsby Town the leagues top scorers.
James Hanson top scorer in the league.

Histon Mariners Man of the Match : JAMES HANSON

A terrific 3 points, a very encouraging performance, evident resilience, a proper goal threat and a team spirit that looks very positive. The B&W Army deserves to grow in confidence but hopefully restrains expectations within realistic boundaries.

Such is the confidence that abounds, after the match even Caistor Mariner, Pez was able to sitback and relax!



None available                      0/10    Surprised at away following!

Alternative Cheeseburger     1/10    Particularly poor. Unlikely to find worse this season.

                                               No sauces. No salt. No pepper.


Michael Jolley’s B&W Army marches on its stomach.

The Histon Mariners can only deplore the situation that Bury finds itself in. It appears at this stage that the best that can be hoped for is another club, out of necessity, rising from the ashes - it is difficult to see any other scenario. We wish them good luck. Bury must be the tip of a sizeable iceberg - 72 clubs increasingly distanced from Premier treasures. Be very very careful what is wished for.....

Leasing.com Trophy 03.09.19 GTFC 1 v 2 Scunthorpe United

07.09.19 GTFC 0 v 2 Crewe Alexandra

League Cup Round 2 10.09.19 GTFC 5 v 4 Macclesfield Town

“Up the Mariners,
   Up the Mariners”

Next Round Chelsea (a)..............UTMM.

14.09.19 Oldham Athletic 2 v 2 GTFC

Oldham Athletic v GTFC Ticket
Oldham Athletic v GTFC Ticket

Oldham is a town with perfectly acceptable pre-match preparation venues though Boundary Park is a bit of a chore to get to Aldham's premier breweryis J.W.Lees.
In a region where recent football stories are less than encouraging (Bury and Bolton Wanderers), the recent plight of Oldham Athletic has an air of impending familiarity about it.
Oldham had 10 managers from 2010 until a 2018 takeover.
New owner, former Moroccan football agent Abdallah Lemsagam took the club over on 26th January 2018.
Oldham have had 5 managerial changes in the 18 months following the takeover.
     - from June 2017 Ritchie Wellens.
     - from June 2018 Frankie Burn.
     - from Dec. 2018 Pete Wild.
     - from Feb. 2019 Paul Scholes.
     - from March 2019 Pete Wild.
     - from June 2019 the French Laurent Banide with assistant Bouziane Bernaraibi.
       Banide had managed 10 clubs since 2006-07 and was appointed on a 1 year contract.

The above scenario must be viewed by Latics supporters with great concern, especially in the existing climate of football club well-being.


Players who have played for both the Mariners and the Latics include Paul Wilkinson, Terrel Forbes, Danny Boshell and currently the once Histon Mariner sponsored Zac Mills.

A return visit to the excellent Ashton Arms was further justified by the appearance of some formidable members of the B&W Army.

Scunthorpe Mariner, Glynn marvels at the unending pearls of wisdom, flowing from the Squire of Hasland.
York Mariner, Dave points out to Gareth the benefits of taking on board the incoherent ramblings of the Squirearchy.

Another outstanding turnout of the B&W Army (783) reflects an underlying positive feeling (albeit cautiously so).
A gloriously sunny day inevitably heightens the prevailing optimism and in keeping, Shadi and Paul Fenty welcome Cropper to another episode of the ongoing Campaign, (plus unidentified intrusive enthusiastic member (presumably) of the B&W Army)

Inside, Stan Laurel lookalike Fazakerley Mariner - ‘ever the optimist !’- predicts a goal rout.
Purley Mariner Tony (not quite Oliver Hardy) a little less ebullient.
Doncaster Paul looks a touch amused/cynical as Tefman gives his usual two goal victory prediction.
Purley Chairman continues to weigh-up proceedings
Ever present, Mariner Mike poses confidently between the well known Louth double-act, a thoughtful Jason & shy Alister.
Lonely Stuart looks out in hope rather than expectation for ‘missing’ mates.

After a stirring opening of exchanges, when James Hanson should have given Town the lead the prevailing confidence appeared justified.
However out of 10 games up until this game only twice had Town opened the scoring. Thus unsurprisingly Oldham took the lead, producing the statistic, only twice out of 11 games have Town taken the lead. Changes made to the team immediately began to be questioned yet....
....the enforced absence of Matt Green, Jordon Cook and Harry Clifton retuning from Welsh duty, necessitated a shuffle of the pack. It is easy to be critical. Fine margins are simply that, fine margins. Fans invariably search for simple answers but subjectivity is what feeds burning questions within a football debate. Retrospective analysis can always pontificate on what should have been, what could have been. In the same way, one could always have won the lottery, just as if my Auntie had had bollocks she would have been my uncle!
A work in progress, progress via incremental steps - in M.J. we trust.
Town were not overrun - match statistics actually suggest an even game.

The second half continued in much the same way as the first and Oldham extended their lead in the 66th minute. Yet still many held onto hopes of a comeback - one certainty that has grown amongst significant sections of supporters this season, is a belief that the current squad never know when it is beaten!
Apart from recent examples of fighting back, that belief is a justification of transfer policy that has produced,
      1 - Better attacking players.
      2 - Greater aerial threat especially from dead ball play scenarios.
      3 - Better quality options from the bench.

With only 9 minutes left substitute Jordon Cook fanned the burning embers of revival to create the roaring flames of a comeback.
The improved aerial presence resulted in Ludvig Ohman’s debut goal in the first minute of extra time.
A draw clutched from the jaws of defeat, for optimists is a desirable quality of a good team - pessimists look back to analyse the errors that preceded the comeback.

Trial and error are part of management in any walk of life. A half full glass is more uplifting than a half empty glass!

Overall the performance was not one that will be talked of over the forthcoming years. Elliot Whitehouse, like a few others played in an unfamiliar role but typified the team spirit. Probably preferred his usual position, didn’t look articularly comfortable with the changed pattern but gave 100% throughout.

Histon Mariners Man of the Match : ELLIOT WHITEHOUSE

Managers are condemned for having no Plan B or C. Managers are condemned if they try alternatives - IF THEY DON’T WORK.

You’re dammed if you do. You’re dammed if you don’t !

Afterwards inevitably felt like a victory. The B&W Army marches on (actually 12.5 miles to Moor Lane, Salford next Tuesday)

Caistor Mariner Pez’s display of ‘youthful exuberance’, knows no bounds as he dances towards the exit.
The experienced Sgt.Dodd convenes a post match gathering to put things into perspective. An elderly lady can only wonder at the antics of ‘The Dancing Squire’. Gareth expresses characteristic caution. TefMan reiterates his two goal prediction.
The Elderly Lady provides motherly re-assurance to the ‘Dancing Squire’ Sgt.Dodd as ever, ‘calm under pressure’.

In the spirit of The Campaign, Post-match analysis was summoned by The Squire in the Oldham Events Centre, a hospitable venue for Latic supporters.

The Squire and Tefman wait at the servery for someone to purchase!
The Squire gave serious consideration to a very animated but erudite presentation given by Doncaster Paul...
....whilst ‘The Logistical Twins’ compare notes.
N.B. The half-empty glass!

The Campaign is always willing and able to build bridges with supporters of Real Football. Trawling through old stories, conversing about shared problems in the contemporary game and debating the latest battle is the life-blood of OUR game.

Histon Mariner Logistic Director with Latics old and new Jeff and Patrick.

See : www.gameofthepeople.com

With reinforced vigour for The Campaign, the foot soldiers moved on to pastures new. At Oldham Central Metro Stop, concern was raised as to the possibility of problematic ongoing connection difficulties. The combined experience of The Squire and his Tour Manager soon confidently allayed fears and expressed an urgent need for further discussions at a venue tbc.

Further refreshment at The Beer House on Manchester Victoria Station seemed to enhance profound insights into a vast array of footballing and non-footballing topics but alas time was not best kept track of and the potential for a logistical crisis arose for the Histon Mariners. With such a crisis on the horizon it was no surprise that ‘The Engine’ rose to the challenge. A summary of the best available options was produced - the professionalism of Gareth clearly demonstrated his unique role in The Squires Platoon.

N.B. The Engine had no responsibility for the poor performance of the rail network. The
        Manchester to Doncaster leg of the journey was late, the connection to Peterborough
        missed. YET AGAIN the joy of a 2 hour black-cab ride to Cambridge had to be endured,
        as on 23-3-19 v Bury, when the Cleethorpes-Doncaster leg failed to make the same
        connection.....joy of joys.

Why do we do it ? Because we support Real Football and obviously The Mighty Mariners!




'Meat' & Potato                  2/10    Difficult to determine if the offering was vegetarian.
(1 of 3 choices)                            Temperature of volcanic proportions, induced a burnt mouth

                                                     Drinks likewise on the verge of running out.
                                                     “Unaware” of away following!

                                                     No sauces. No salt. No pepper.


‘We march on together. Up The Mighty Mariners.

17.9.19 Salford City 1 v 0 GTFC

Salford City v GTFC Ticket
Salford City v GTFC Ticket

Until the 18/19th centuries Salford was a more significant town than its noisy neighbours Manchester. Royalist Salford v Parliamentarian Manchester was a major divide probably reflecting their relevant status at that time.
Salford opened the first free public library in Britain (1850). Karl Marx and Frederick Engels studied in Salford. No doubt the River Irwell, virtually an open sewer meandering though the two adjoining Cities, helped give their writings a distinctive flavour...
Seven Brothers Brewery is Salfords main brewery.

Salford now probably better known for L.S.Lowry, Coronation Street and Salford Lads Club vis-a-vis The Smiths, ‘The Queen Is Dead’. The classic film ‘East to East’ was set in Salford.
2 victims of the Munich Air Crash were Salford born - Eddie Coleman and Geoff Bent.

Originally founded as Salford Central in 1940, becoming Salford Amateurs (hence ‘the Ammies’), and finally Salford City in 1989. The Peninsula Stadium, Moor Lane became home in 1978.

It is the recent change of ownership that has brought The Ammies to the forefront of public attention.
    March 2004 Butt, Giggs, the Nevilles’ and Scholes took a 10% stake each in the Club.
    Sept. 2004 Peter Lim ( owner of Valencia F.C.) took a 50% share.
    June 2019 Beckham acquired a 10% stake.
Red & White (surprisingly) became the club colours replacing the original tangerine and white.

Playing Salford, the epitome of the changing nature of Real Football, it is difficult to not have thoughts about teams in the region such as Bury, Bolton, Stockport County and Wrexham.

With such a limited history there are few players who have played for both clubs but Nathan Pond and Matt Green are a very credible start.

The Histon Mariners had planned a marathon expedition. At 0715hrs. train to Peterborough, to Doncaster, to Cleethorpes. Chauffeured taxi from Cleethorpes Station, courtesy of Tour Guide David ‘JC’ Roberts, to Base Camp, The Kingsway. To Waltham to meet up with the rest of The Jolley Boyz and the renowned Supporters Travel Club Coach courtesy of Group Commander Terry Hall.

However a blip at the outset. When setting off for the station, it was discovered that bolt croppers had been used overnight to remove a bicycle from Cambridge home base, necessitating a taxi ride to the station. Other than that the late summer sunshine encouraged a sense of well-being and positivity for the journey ahead.

On arrival at a sun drenched Cleethorpes station, Tour Guide ‘JC’ was on standby to collect. Driven to Blundel to collect multiple tickets for Chelsea - a sizeable Histon Mariner expedition, - a ticket for Exeter and it was revealed a booking for The Chairman and associates in October for the visit of Leyton Orient!
The Logistics Director had applied a copious amount of oil to the mechanics of an intense forward programme.

A most agreeable first visit to the Farmhouse New Waltham for The Histon Mariners was only made better by teaming up with The Jolley Boyz, a duel operation that may well signal future cooperation.....

The infamous spreadsheet of Jolley Boyz Head Tour Guide, ensures a well drilled unit on manoeuvres.
As Big Steve studies instructions, New Waltham LegEnd, Tony, checks on anticipated temperatures - as one who tends to feel the cold!

Fully refreshed and briefed, joint maneuvers continued alongside Ray The Fish and GTFC Travel Club Committee Members, Janice, Moira and Mick. The comfort stop at Birch Services was an indication of the B&W Army dedication to duty.

At Birch ServicesTerry Hall was on hand to welcome the troops.
Grimsby Town Centre Mariner Michael Owen in tandem with long-standing associate of The Histon Mariners, the ever present Gerry.
Lisa and Jason lament the absence of McMenemy Mike but press on regardless.
A meeting of Old Gitz with mugs of Complan, reminisce about past campaigns alongside the likes of colleagues from Walmington-On-Sea.
“They don’t like it up ‘em’.

Arrival at The Peninsula Stadium was in such good time, it wasn’t open! Troops assembled in a distinctly sedate and orderly fashion whilst the stewards searched for the missing keys for the lock.

Stuart and Big Steve look rather hopefully towards Paul for inspiration.
A rare solo mission for Louth Mariner Alister in the absence of Jason - allegedly lost in Norfolk....

Once the keys to the ground were located, entrance was permitted - perhaps the arrival of the Mighty Mariners had been forgotten about.

Disparate members of the B&W Army soon began to merge into a coherent well drilled unit.

Ray The Fish meets up with Goxhill Mariner, Jim Guildersone.
The pair have a long standing association built up in a remote Curry House, almost 4/5 days ago.
East Halton Mariners Mike and Mandy coordinate tactics for a forthcoming visit to West London.
As ever, the Teflon sponsored Ian indulged in the name of research.
As ever, ‘A Voice of Reason’ with an authoritative input to The Pie Report.
Prior to kickoff a wonderful gesture by Town Legend Sean Pearson to greet The Fish and express his appreciation for his many years of devotion to The Campaign.

                                           “A Tale Of Two Free Kicks”
Without doubt Town started out the brighter of the two sides. Matt Green forced a good save early on as Town applied early pressure. But as at Oldham and again against the run of play Town conceded this time directly from a free kick.
Now only twice in 12 games have Town taken the lead this season!

Salford appeared content to sit back and hold onto their lead and it must be admitted The Mighty Mariners found it difficult to counteract.
Clearcut chances were few and matters hardly improved when Öhman was forced to leave the pitch with what looked a serious injury.

(With Harry Davis still out, now Ludwig Öhman and Luke Waterfall Cup-tied, the forthcoming trip to West London has the familiar ring as the trip to South London had last season. Hopefully there will be no VAR!)

Questions about Hewitt for Öhman needed to consider Hendrie at Centre Back as a possible solution in the League Cup and also the benefit of Hewitts delivery into the box.

4 minutes into the second half Jordon Cook’s superb equalising free kick stood for only 3 minutes. After celebrating, lining up for the restart, the goal being announced over the tannoy system, the fourth official approached the referee who then ruled out the goal.
The recently acquired need to urgently impose a new rule at the start of each season, this year decreed a player can not encroach on an opposition wall. This rule was invoked by the fourth official - Matt Green being the guilty party.
If the decision was correct, then so be it.

 BUT,  1) If the fourth official intervened at the instigation of a managers complaint,
               a dangerous precedent occurs because why then would a manager not
               complain about every foul, free kick, handball etc
           2) The rules of football have evolved on a utilitarian basis for over a
                century. Why do the powers that be, feel the need to tweak a rule at the
                start of every season?

Not only was the potential momentum swing from that equalising goal lost, Salford continued to play 10/11 players behind the ball, which was either a sad reflection on their ambition or concern of The Mighty Mariners.The possession statistics (66%) reflect a fairly consistent onslaught by Town but a diet of half chances were not converted. Luke Waterfall forced the keeper into his best save of the match in the dying moments.
It is true, Town’s forwards did not have their best day but they had few scraps to feed off.

Histon Mariners Man of the Match : LUKE WATERFALL

Post match frustration - JC struggles to coordinate his group of disparate individuals. Paul struggles to get instructions from JC.
Stuart awaits instructions. Paul looks for inspiration.



Meat & Potato                  6/10    Vague traces of non-vegetable matter.
(1 of 3 choices)                           Perfect temperature.

                                                    Reasonable choice of liquid refreshment.

N.B. We were the first to be served, once the keys to the stadium were found.

                                                    No sauces. No salt. No pepper.


The first visit to The Peninsula was memorable for reasons other than the result. Once the troops were rounded up and shepherded back onto the bus by JC, the tone of the post match analysis was inevitable.

The journey home rekindled memories of school trips and a Mums packed lunches. The Fish produced a veritable feast, prepared unexpectedly by Mrs Fish - once a mum always a mum.
(why did my Mum always put cucumber/tomato in my sandwiches which would inevitability be sat on, making the bread even more soggy?)

21.09.19 GTFC 1 v 0 Macclesfield Town (Again)

League Cup Round 3 - 25.09.19 Chelsea 7 v 1 GTFC

Chelsea v GTFC Ticket
Chelsea v GTFC Ticket

Not every thing in Chelsea has always revolved around conspicuous consumption, ‘Sloane Rangers’, Russian Oligarchs and tiresome ‘non celebrity’ gibberish like ‘Made In Chelsea’.

The Chelsea Royal Hospital, a Christopher Wren building commissioned by Charles II, is now the home of the Chelsea flower show.
Chelsea had the first porcelain workshop in England until it was sold and moved to Derby in 1769 - an association renewed in reverse when Frank Lampard left Derby County for Chelsea in the summer of 2019.
The Chelsea Bun House was a Georgian hotspot in the mid/late 18th century and it is estimated to have sold 250,000 of the famous Chelsea Buns on its last trading Good Friday in 1839!

Alas the famous Chelsea Barracks have succumb to the apparent way of things and been bought by a property group from Qatar.

There are no breweries in Chelsea postcodes.

Chelsea FC was founded in 1905. Having bought the site, it was offered to Fulham who turned the opportunity down. As a result Gus Mears formed his own club, Chelsea, in the pub opposite the ground, The Rising Sun now called The Butchers Hook.

Players for both clubs include Hughes Gallacher, Mike Brolly, goalkeepers Steve Sherwood and Dave Beasant, Darren Barnard, Stevo Livingston and Steve Watts.
Towns playing record v The Pensioners: P43 W14 D8 L21.

A formidable array of talent ventured forth to Stamford Bridge on behalf of the Histon Mariners.
The Logistics Director, using considerable local knowledge had preplanned a cultural visit to an underplayed part of West London that would surely facilitate the days proceedings.

Anglo-Italian Mariner and master craftsman, Giuseppe Piran was briefed by Landbeach Mariner, Andy. Obviously his geographical knowledge of the terrain proved enlightening and for anyone who listened the value of his catering experience could never be under-estimated.

Mr. D. rarely disappoints!
G.P.’s level of expectation rose accordingly.
Shaun had heard most of information before........several times.

Maneuvers were conducted along Hammersmith Mall. Given the time restraints and the plethora of excellent venues the Cross Keys and Black Lion were by-passed and The Old Ship was adopted as base camp.

Fellow Anglo-Italian Mariner Baggio joins Giuseppe in Mr.D’s first refreshment stop. Shaun appears to have been there before!
(N.B. “An engine needs stoking”).
After numerous courses, Mr.D. is joined by Harry H. They decide The Campaign should spread its fins.
The Anglo-Italian contingent look impressed. Shaun cannot believe his eyes.

En-route to the famous Dove, 19 Upper Mall, world renowned craftsman Giuseppe P. was enthralled to see the home of the Wm. Morris Society - near his home - at 26 Upper Mall, plus the site of the Morris created Kelmscott Press next door to the Dove.

Inside the Dove, Mr. P. discusses his work and fascination with a blow-up plastic haddock.

A meeting up of the Histon Mariners with Chesterton Mariners should never be a surprise. Nor should The Squire of Hasland’s remarkably consistent orienteering skills. On this occasion his desire to visit Putney Bridge (as opposed to Hammersmith Bridge immediately adjacent to the Dove) was overruled by Junior Management.

A bemused Squire takes stock whilst a restful and relieved Becky with Charlotte (minus hair extensions), in contact with regular child minder Chesterfield Joe, indulge in afternoon tea.

Afternoon tea on the terrace overlooking The Thames proved a very popular spot for analysis and assessment.

Gareth takes instruction from Becky.
Baggio and Shaun marvel at proceedings...!
The Logistics Director considers Mr.D.’s catering proposals.
The Squire looks towards Putney.
Tefman, ever the diplomat, says nothing.
Squire Roy recounts “Tales From Haslands Top Night Spot”.
Baggio takes notes to relay to work colleagues.
Harry watches the river and reminisces about his early years as a haddock.
Shaun points out that the Dove housed the writer of “Land Of Hope & Glory”.
Harry thanked The Dove staff for their hospitality before moving on to meet other expectant admirers.
The Blue Anchor was to prove an excellent venue for final pre-match sustenance.
Ben and Aggie can barely contain contain themselves, offering Harry a welcoming glass of Thames Water.
Mr.D. forges ahead, whilst Shaun ensures no delay between courses.
A spellbound Giuseppe in awe at Shaun’s devotion to duty.
The Anglo-Italian contingent operate in unison to ensure no ‘back-tracking’ (1)
As the B&W Army marches on, debutant Giuseppe is left open mouthed.
The Anglo-Italian contingent in tandem to ensure no ‘back-tracking’ (2)

Inside Stamford Bridge The B&W Army prepare with a sense of realism, fully aware of the importance of the forthcoming Saturday venture at top of the table Exeter.

‘Youthful(?)’ exuberance from Sutton Mariner.
A more measured Mr. & Mrs Fish.
Harry explains proceedings to Baggio.
An over excited Italian compatriot indicates he can’t believe his eyes.
A brace of Moore’s. One young, dynamic and Histon Mariner sponsored, the other is Andy.

With Exeter on the horizon coupled with realistic expectations, no matter what the result, belief in the progress being made by the current squad would remain undiminished.
The Chelsea team put out what appeared to reflect,
   1. An English Manager not underestimating the occasion
   2. A Manager looking to remove a monkey from his back,
       i.e. the need for a first home win.
   3. A Manager acknowledging the previous night victories
       of Colchester and Crawley over Tottenham and Stoke.
Town appeared to show a little too much respect and found themselves 2 down after only 6 minutes.

However a superb volley from Matt Green (hero), unexpectedly brought The Mighty Mariners back into the game and also saw a 15-20 minute spell whereby a more even contest appeared possible.
But a careless challenge in front of the referee on the edge of the box by Matt Green (villain), saw Town go in at half-time 1 v 3 down.
The third goal realistically changed the dynamics of the game - not in Towns favour.
At 1 v 2, Town could have thrown caution to the wind for 10/15 minutes in the hope of rattling the Premier hosts. But with a 2 goal cushion only one outcome was likely. Just before the hour, with a degree of inevitability, a fourth goal ended Towns run in the League Cup.
The final 15 minutes was a reflection of the gap between the upper echelons of the football pyramid and The Mighty Mariners. A gap that is unlikely to ever be truly bridged. A gap that many Real Football People (RFP) do not wish to be bridged - for as good as the visit to play Chelsea was, the next venture to Exeter will be a reconnection with reality for The Histon Mariner Campaign.

James McKeown conceded 7 but as is often the case when a team is on the receiving end of such a result, the goalkeeper plays well.
He probably kept the goals conceded down to single figures.
The Hess and Whitehouse chased and chased all night largely to no avail. The brief appearance of Max Wright only enhanced his reputation. The performance of fellow academy graduate Mattie Pollock was that of a seasoned campaigner. Against Chelsea, Pollock looked to be struggling for 25/30 minutes with a slight knock/cramp but carried on with little ill-effect.

Histon Mariners Man of the Match : MATT POLLOCK

"His name is a fish"



Card only purchase point. No pie assessed !


Post-match spirits remained in good fettle and The B&W Army were ‘alive and kicking’, which was a state of mind rarely experienced at all, let alone all at the same time, by The Caistor Mariners. The Caistor Mariners mood of euphoria at their time of life, induced many to advise them to “Sit Down” and take it easy.

The trek home for many proved a testing experience well into the early hours. Reports of road closures and broken-down coaches made things worse for those travelling north. On this occasion The Histon Mariners had it relatively easy and were delighted to share the journey across London with Elliot Whitehouse and Jason - who survived a threat of ejection from a hospitality suite for cheering when Town scored!!!! - whose solo journey home ensured only 3 hours recuperation before work the next day.

The B&W Army marches on. Next stop Exeter.

28.09.19 Exeter City 1 v 3 GTFC

Exeter City v GTFC Ticket
Exeter City v GTFC Ticket

The County Town of Devon on the River Exe came to the fore as a Roman base camp.

Heavily bombed in WW2, Exeter was ultimately saved from total destruction by night fighters, The ‘LWOW Eagle Owls, i.e. Polish Squadron 307 who were based at Exeter. The city of Lwow has the same motto as Exeter (“forever faithful”). Annually on the 15th November a Polish flag is flown from the Guildhall in honour of 307 Squadron.

Rugby Union is nowadays the dominant sport in Exeter. Exeter Chiefs Rugby Union Club attract average gates of 11,000


In the recently rebuilt Princesshay Shopping Centre, the Exeter Community Transport Association provides mobility scooters for those in need.....!!!

Exter breweries include Hanlons & The Exeter Brewery Ltd.

Exeter were founded in 1904. In July 1914 Exeter City went on an 8 game tour of South America - 4 games in Argentina and 4 games in Brazil.
The first game played by the Brazilian national team was on 21/07/1914 v Exeter City at The Laranjeiras Stadium in Rio, the home of Fluminense F.C. The result is disputed as being either 2 v 0 or 3 v 3(?). Other than that game the tour record was P7. W5. D1. L1.

Exeter were founding members in 1920 of the Third Division. Exeter are now fully owned by The Exeter City Supporters Trust and has a developing reputation for magnanimous hospitality.

Town secured promotion twice in games against Exeter.
    1) 1972:  3 v O. Two goals from Matt Tees and one from Lew Chatterley took Lawrie   
                   McMenamy’s team into Div. 3.
    2) 1991:  2 v 1. Two goals from Glen Cockerill took Alan Buckley’s team into Div. 2.

Unsurprisingly there is not an extensive list of players for both clubs but on the list are George McLean, George Hobson, Alan Barnett and Alan Priestley. John Newman of course managed both clubs.

A seemingly regular meeting of The Histon Mariners and Radio Humberside impresario, John Tondeur reoccurred at St.Davids, and continued onto St.James.

The search for suitable pre-match venues in Exeter is made easy by virtue of the Supporter run Centre Spot Bar. A credit to the club, a “Real’ venue

As the ‘main act’, a fully attired Hollywood welcomed the B&W Army to the Centre Spot and introduced.....
.....’Team Hospitality’, not as fearsome as they look.
John, Higgo, Neal & Hollywood.
Unlike the Mariners previous fixture, liquid and solid refreshment was readily available.



Devon/Cornish Pasty*                  8/10    Classic, always shortcrust, never flaky. When in Rome.....
     (1 of 3 choices)                                  Perfect temperature.

                                                               Very good choice of liquid refreshment.

                                                               No sauces. No salt. No pepper.

*N.B. It was said a Cornish Pasty is crimped along the edge.
         A Devon Pasty is crimped along the top.  Naturally a Devon Pasty was on offer!
         (Never let the truth stand in the way of a good story)


As ever the B&W Army travel far and wide. Fixtures in different locations give different exiles the opportunity to join The Campaign. An extreme location like Exeter (and soon Plymouth) gives those relatively isolated to attend alongside ‘regulars’ from far and wide.

Chesterfield Tefman confers with reborn cricketer Muswel Hill(billy) Scott about various sporting matters.
Adrian originally from Grimsby relives ‘experiences from the Bridge’ to Exeter Mariner Ritchie Mills and Co.Wicklow Mariner Pete.

Ex-naval man Adrian partook of hospitality at the ‘Premier’ Stamford Bridge along with his family. After Matt Greens unexpected wonder goal, which put the Mariners back in the game, unsurprisingly Adrian was up on his feet to celebrate. The celebration resulted in ejection from the suite and out of the ground! Trying to reason with straight-faced Steward Michael, about being with family, about the cost of his families day, about not offending or provoking anyone around him, about the uncontrollable joy of such a good goal getting a division 4 club back into the game against one of the alleged elite teams and about a career in the navy inculcating a natural respect for rules and regulations, the only response received from the arrogant Steward Michael was “If you can afford to pay these prices, you can afford to be thrown out!!!!!!!!!”

This was not the only example of such an approach. After Chelsea, on the tube journey home, Jason recounted his being threatened with ejection from hospitality for the same crime.
Herein is an example of the dislocation in the structure of football. The game of the people has been hijacked by the moneyed, football tourists, the media and hospitality focused administrators.

See : www.gameofthepeople.com

Muswel Hill(billy) Scott discusses the recent England v Ireland Test Match with Co. Wicklow Mariner, Pete.
Renowned Tour Operator and Leading Jolley Boy, Mr.R points the way forward to a solo ™

It came to light via a confidential source that Jolley Boy Paul R. was absent from proceedings and sunning himself in Corfu. Formerly known as Billy, Paul was on a duel mission that revolved around a 3 day Cultural Tour d’Force of live music supplemented with liquid refreshment. A true example to us all - proof that love & romance is alive and well in Grimsby!!!

Outside, cocooned Jolley Boy Tony takes no chances despite there being zero chance of an artic freeze.
Adopting a Care In The Community ethos, Pete R. checks on the well being of Tony.

A surprise shuffle of the pack, clearly emphasising a desire for pace.
With Hanson, Green and Whithouse on the bench and Clifton carrying a knock, Wright, Rose, Robson, Ogbu and Cook would provide a different approach.
When such a bold change comes off a Manager is lauded, when it goes wrong the Manager is castigated. This day MJ was a hero.
Fine margins.

A well deserved 3 v 1 victory was a superb response to the League Cup exit. The tactical switch worked perfectly, two goals the result of pace on the break.
Ethan Roberts delightful strike from the edge of the box directly from a corner, may well have been transferred straight from the training ground. Exeter’s goal attempts rarely tested McKeown and the half time lead was well deserved.
As expected after half-time the home side sought to apply pressure but Waterfall and Pollock with admirable support from Hendrie and Gibson held firm.
The undoubted highlight of this period was birthday boy Matt Pollocks unbelievable goal-line clearance which he ‘chose’ to play off the bar!

Counter-attacking (previously called a breakaway), Akeem Rose’s through ball saw the speed of Wright get him goal side and be brought down for a penalty. conversion by Moses Ogbu - cue goal celebration!
The third goal, set up again by the speed of Wright plus a terrific centre to Ogbu whose lay-off to Robson, saw him net his third in 2 league games.

A late consultation goal for The Grecians meant the desired clean sheet was not to be - a small blemish on a marvelous day.

The physicality and foul play endured by Max Wright throughout the game raises concern about the likelihood of future serious injury.
The role of referees will be crucial.
It is often a compliant that Town are on the wrong side of decisions from a poor group of League 2 referees. Against The Grecians Brett Huxtable was a good a referee as experienced this season - this aside from a penalty that was denied to Exeter!

Histon Mariners Man of the Match : MAX WRIGHT

“He’s one of our own”

At full-time The Mighty Mariners were keen to show their appreciation Luke Waterfall, Akeem Rose and tube travelling companion Elliot Whitehouse applaud the Histon Mariners.

The Centre Spot proved to have a magnetic attraction for many Mariners after the game.

TefMan and Grecian Steve share refreshment & analysis.
RFP thrive in such places.
A ‘Fishy’ Les from Grimsby with Walton-on-Thames Mariner Baz, and Tatsfield (Westerham) Mariner Pete applaud the bonhomie of The Centre Spot.



Steak Pie                  8/10    Real steak prevalent with enough gravy.
(1 of 3 choices)                    Temperature of volcanic proportions.

                                             Still some variety of liquid refreshment available.

                                              No sauces. No salt. No pepper.


A memorable day - weather, performance, result, hospitality, bonhomie - a day for Real Football People. Eventually the journey home had to be confronted. Reflecting on such a positive day could hardly be any better but to share the journey with Anthony Limbrick who was very relaxed engaging and interesting - even for an Aussie - was indeed a pleasure and provided a good layer of icing on an already excellent cake.

Such positive factors are well reflected on, on the long journeys home. Such days make all the efforts worthwhile. The Mighty Mariners March on.

05.10.19 GTFC 0 v 1 Mansfield Town

leasing.com Trophy - 08.10.19 Sunderland 3 v 2 GTFC

12.10.19 Stevenage 2 v 1 GTFC

Stevenage v GTFC Ticket
Stevenage v GTFC Ticket

As the first designated New Town after WW.2, Stevenage is perceived as the embodiment of post WW2 modernist development but it was was mentioned in The Doomsday Book of 1086.
Now, carrying the conspicuous burdens of postwar architectural fashion, the need for radical redevelopment is accepted but has been delayed since 2008 because of the recession.

Stevenage Borough F.C. formed 1976 following the demise of Stevenage Athletic. The Council bought the ground at Broadhall Way in 1977 following the bankruptcy. The ground was unused for 3 years after which the newly formed Stevenage Borough took up residence. The club was renamed Stevenage F.C. in 2010.
Champions of Division 5 in 1996 but forbidden to enter the Football League because of ground inadequacies. But 2009.10.11 saw back-to-back promotions reaching Division 3 play-offs and the 5th Round of the F.A. Cup.

Significant footballers born in Stevenage include Kevin Philips, Ashley Young and Jack Wiltshire. Lewis Hamilton was also born in Stevenage.

Players to have played for both include Tony Thorpe, Peter Winn, Sam Hatton and most recently Andrew Fox.

The only brewery in Stevenage is Bog Brew Beers. In terms of pre and post match campaigning venues, Stevenage is not awash with abundant choice. Knebworth - 2.5miles away provided an alternative option. The only brewery in Knebworth is Garden City Brewery.

In all a very typical away-day, which after the ‘ups’ of Walsall and Exeter, and the great days at Salford and Chelsea, should have been expected. In purely footballing terms Town went to Exeter and beat the top side who had not yet lost. On this day Town were playing the bottom side who had not yet won - ominous! Plus The Mighty Mariners had lost every time ever when playing at Stevenage - very ominous!!

The Histon and Chesterfield Mariners as prearranged, met at Stevenage railway station. The briefest discussion resulted in Knebworth being selected as having more suitable facilities for pre- match preparations.
Histon Logistics Director had solicited local intelligence which recommended ‘The Lytton Arms’ and ‘The Hoods’. Two taxi-drivers, three bar staff and one local had never heard of ‘The Hoods’. This apparent lack of local knowledge brought forth disparaging comments aimed at Histon’s source of intelligence.

The Lytton Arms proved a most satisfactory choice, to the extent that a solution to the mystery of ‘The Hoods’ was never sought.

N.B. It was later confirmed that the alleged existence of ‘The Hoods’ was meant to be ‘The Horns’ - close!

Once established in ‘The Lytton’ The Tef wasted no time complying with The Squires instructions, gathering relevant facts and figures over an uplifting English Breakfast Tea.
The Squire “attempted” to assist a floundering Engine procure a taxi. The Tef was not easily distracted and continued to concentrate on the task.


Inside The Lamex Ground, Doncaster Paul assisted The Tef gather the information requested by The Squire. Gareth continued to analyse taxi logistics. The Squire displayed inordinate patience.
Regular Gerry, appeared to have caught the ‘youthful bug’.
‘The Voices Of Reason’ double act contemplated Towns record at Stevenage’. ‘JC’ sought to reassure a nervous Chris.

                                                    Largely Woeful!
It has to be said that the first 45 minutes were the most disappointing of the season so far. Yes changes were made by MJ. Yes it was a very disappointing 2 v 1 defeat. Inevitably much criticism of the changes made were prevalent, just as there was much praise after the changes and subsequent victory at Exeter.
Everyone demands a Plan B. even a Plan C. To achieve this, different combinations have to be tried. But in League 2 different criteria often apply than in higher divisions. Town have a very creditable League 2 squad - probably the best since the return to Division 4. That squad is at Town for a reason. Routine, confidence, familiarity are the bedrock of winning runs. Once something appears to click it makes sense to many to stick with it, but upon such decisions managers are judged.
                                   Damned if you do. Damned if you don’t.

Particularly poor defending saw Town go in at half-time 2 down.
Every player appeared below par. The second half was more even and eventually with the 3 substitutes on - Moses, Wright and Vernam - the Mighty Mariners approached par.
A terrific goal by Akeem Rose gave hope in the dying minutes, of snatching a point from the jaws of defeat - again! The last 10 minutes demonstrated what should have been. It wasn’t. Hopefully we learn. We move on. Leyton Orient at Blundel next.

Histon Mariners Man of the Match : THE B&W ARMY

Lonely Louth Mariner Jason, despairs at the performances of both Town and the ‘peddler’ of fake-news’, Alister - still lost somewhere in Norfolk.
An elderly lady provides ‘motherly’ comfort to The Squire following the poor result.
Old Gits Stuart and Paul took comfort from Tonys absence in warmer climates but were even more excited about forthcoming joint manoeuvres in Plymouth with The Histon Mariners.......



Cornish (Devon) Pasty                  6/10.    Unfortunately flaky rather than shortcrust
      (1 of 3 choices)                                   Good temperature, slightly hot.

                                                                  Salt, Pepper and Sauces all available.

                                                                  Non-alcoholic liquid refreshment available.
                                                                  Bovril perfectly acceptable. PLUS...

....a wonderfully caring and considerate Duty Of Care was on display, just as Nanny would expect.
    Such thoughtfulness raises awareness of dangerous situations that might otherwise not be
    realised and helps create safer environments for football supporters to survive the perils of a
    cup of Bovril whilst watching a match.!!!


It would have been remiss of The Campaign not to have experienced some of the Stevenage hospitality on offer. Accordingly post-match analysis was conducted at ‘Our Mutual Friend.’

With little more to consider after such a disappointing performance, future planning was the main thrust of conversations. However it was also in order that The Squire of Hasland should demonstrate to doubters the depth of experience accumulated through generations of leadership.

The Squire Of Hasland illustrates to The Engine the benefit of generations of breeding as he successfully orders a taxi.
Gareth acknowledges a masterclass of logistical expertise.

The Campaign For Real Football never stops. The short train journey home for The Histon Mariners witnessed conversations with Cambridge Gimp Bill Brogan, also heading home after the Lincoln defeat to The Posh.

Also, looking forward to the visit of Leyton Orient next week, were Anthony Limbrick and John Tondeur.

For R.F.P., the return of Leyton Orient to the 4th.Division is welcome. Muswell Hill Mariner Scott’s journey north will be on board the Orient fans bus and is exactly what The Campaign is about. ‘Muswell Hill(billy) Tales From An Oriental Charabanc’, should be most enlightening.

In Jolley We Trust.


19.10.19 GTFC 0 v 4 Leyton Orient

GTFC v Leyton Orient Ticket
GTFC v Leyton Orient Ticket

The long awaited return of The Chairman to Cleethorpes saw him accompanied by Histon Transport Guru Ray West - whose expertise in umor praefandus transportation should prove particularly useful in Campaigning matters re. the premier league pantomime.
The meticulous planning witnessed in the week prior to Saturdays journey north, by the Rt. Hon. Chairman, was no surprise to President Maurice, The Dean of Fitness and Logistics Director, ‘Roy Cropper’.

Meeting up at Cleethorpes basecamp, The Kingsway Hotel, The Chairman was as ever anxious to proceed with his planned ‘breakfast meeting’. At Operational HQ Willy’s, The President welcomed Ray to The Campaign, whilst The Chairman fully briefed Ray on proceedings. Mr. West appeared a little perplexed that the ‘breakfast meeting’ actually had no food available.

The Chairman continued relentlessly, allowing Maurice to catch up with The Dean’s developing Fitness Programme. Having recently divulged himself of the restoration project element of his role, he was now in the process of overseeing The Barhill Battleaxe’s ventures into pastures new - a round of “‘ere ‘ere.” was heard al round.

‘Think Bubbles’ provided some glamour to proceedings when welcoming Ray, who was a little disappointed that there was no snack bar in the shop, whilst Tina and Mo Mo were disappointed at the continued absence of Stuart B. (a good customer?).
A 1 v 1 prediction from the debutant and the President over mid-morning coffee at The Notts...
...where Neville discusses his life-long interest in old mares.
The Dean reassures him that his focus will not be prejudiced by his recently acquired 3000th share in Kodiak Pride.
Most unusually The Chairman expresses a degree of satisfaction with proceedings.
Bev from Cleethorpes Cabs cannot contain herself when thanking The Chairman.

Blundel and B&W Army members as ever provided an enthusiastic welcome to The Histon Mariners.

Airdrie Mariner Will with better half Lauren wait to thank The Chairman for his outstanding leadership.
The Chairman selflessly pursues a policy of self-help and welcomes an opportunity to add value to ‘Mind’ fund-raising efforts.
A hungry Ray, who appeared to be wasting away, was amazed at the welcome from Ethan Robson on behalf of The Mighty Mariners.
In the true spirit of The Campaign, RFP Chesterfield Joe discusses matters with Ray and the President.
The President confers with Town Legend Dave Boylen (formerly with Ryder Brow B.C.) about past footballing battles....D.B. struggles to recall!
The President recounts similar tales with former teammate Steve.
Malcom tries to stay awake, as he listens for the umpteenth time.
Final preparations by The Chairman, ensured his total, uninterrupted concentration in the game ahead.
As the game proceeds, The Dean can only marvel at the total concentration of The Chairman.
E.Halton Mariner Paul and Caistor Mariner Ian, can only stand and marvel - an absent Pez enabled a better view!

                                                 Oh dear, Oh dear.
A total of 5 changes, some enforced plus some of choice - cue the praise if victorious, the condemnation if beaten. However such a sizeable defeat raises emotions and attracts knee-jerk reactions.
The first half at Stevenage the previous week was the poorest this season. The first half against the O’s was little better but once again, Town fell behind, going in 0 v 2 at the interval.

In all 19 games in this season, Town have taken the lead on 4 occasions!!!

Hendrie continues to play short of the standards he set last season, which sympathetically maybe the result of playing in different positions this season.
Ohman surprisingly returned after 6 games out, and looked rusty.
Hewitt looks less a midfield player than a fullback/wingback Hessenthaler needs creative outlets around him.
Clifton, presumably played because of Robson’s late injury, and whist apparently carrying a reoccurring injury is not playing at the standard he would expect.

Vernam looked isolated.
Akeem Rose, last week, looked dangerous as an impact substitute scoring a great goal, but his full starts have disappointed and is behind the injured Max Wright as a wide starting player.
Hanson has lost his early season form and wins fewer and fewer of his aerial battles week by week.

Overall the early season team spirit and collectiveness is less discernible.
Collectively these issues raise concerns about off-field matters.
Stories about micro-management may or may not be true but without doubt The Mighty Mariners need to pick the best team, let partnerships and confidence evolve. Let form be the essential determinant of selection with a mind to occasional exceptional circumstance.

The introduction of Ogbu and Green, for Clifton and Vernam, at half-time, witnessed a degree of improvement. Hanson ballooned from 3 yards and third substitute, Whitehouse only needed to redirect his header from a similar distance - if those 2 chances had fallen the other way round things may well have taken a different course. But such a fickle path of fate would have obscured some of the reasonably aired concerns.

In an effort to retrieve the deficit Town were woefully exposed, conceded 2 more goals which deepened the anxieties of the B&W Army.
The fact that The O’s had 4 former Mariners in their team rubbed salt into a gaping wound.

Histon Mariners Man of the Match : LIAM GIBSON

A difficult day on the pitch rarely if ever affects The Campaign off the pitch. An initial post-match consultation centered on uplifting and thought provoking insights from The Chairman - with Maurice and The Fish clearly enthralled.

The Dean ever keen to learn, struggled to take on board the incoherent ramblings of Neville at the New Imperial Club, who may well have been knocked off balance by his mineral water, rumoured to have the incorrect quantity of ice.

Onto the Nottingham House where the usual array of excellent beverages supplemented extensive discussions between The Logistics Director, Andy (not Nigel!) Lowther and a perplexed John Tondeur.
After the disappointment of the days proceedings, John was disturbed with the post-match interviews with MJ. Emotions would obviously be at their zenith immediately after a game - particularly a game in which things had not quite gone to plan. It must be assumed that depth of feelings are usually a reflection of a level of care for the situation in hand and that the evaporation of the grey mists of emotion and negativity usually give way to the emergence of blue skies of positivity and clarity. Whoever are the personnel involved The Campaign marches on.

BUT not without precedent and most significant was The Chairman’s Impromptu Forum. The Histon Mariners are used to his unique demeanour, insight, bonhomie and wit but for those anxious to meet him for the first time, could not have been anything other than underwhelmed.

The Chairman prepares to meet his audience.

The Chairman's legendary appearance in Stallingborough ( 01.04.2017 ) had been well recorded in local folklore. It had been inspired by his awareness of the Cambridge-Healing connection that echoed the long standing Cambridge-Cleethorpes connection i.e. the industrial presence of Ciba-Geigy. As a result The Chairman had always identified the Healing area as a vital area for The Campaign. It was the legend of this appearance that had created the lifetime ambition of Healing Mariner Gill (“with a G not a J”) to meet Neville. Along with friend Cleethorpes Mariner Lisa, Gill’s excitement, quite understandably could hardly be contained as she thanked him for such selfless devotion.

At the same event, the meeting of The Chairman with Grimsby Mariner Rod was a meeting of minds, the like of which is rarely witnessed. These 2 long standing Town stalwarts enthusiastically exchanged tales and memories that was an absolute pleasure to witness. Rod following Town for 50 years since his father Mally Fleet introduced him, could only despair that his path had never crossed that of The Chairman.
All those who witnessed this meeting of heavyweights, agreed that such a combination could well have led to a double act to rival the likes of The Chuckle Brothers and Abbot & Costello.

All good things come to an end and The Histon Mariners moved onto The Smugglers where Promotion Plaice and Kingsway Simon continued the post-match analysis. Whilst concern was naturally evident, glasses remained half-full or in PP’s case his bottle was completely empty!

The Campaign continues unabated. The regular ‘downs’ on the pitch are endured, as the ‘ups’ off the pitch continually provide the essential nourishment that Real Football People crave.

Next up, the draw for the F.A.Cup followed by a trip to the Abbey Stadium.....we trust our prayers are well received.

We hope and trust Jolley will pass his Cambridge examination!

22.10.19 Cambridge UTD 0 v 0 GTFC

Cambridge UTD v GTFC Ticket
Cambridge UTD v GTFC Ticket

Birthplace of the first Campaign For Real Ale Beer Festival In 1974 and thus the longest running Beer Festival In Britain.
It is also the birthplace of the Rules of Association Football. 1863 saw representatives of the 6 most significant public schools meet in Cambridge to codify their different rules of football. They were published as The Cambridge Rules and taken up for consideration by The Football Association - thus kick stated they game of the people!

Recent significance births in Cambridge include Richard Attenborough, founder of St.Trinians, Ronald Searle, Pink Floyd members Syd Barrett (founder) and Dave Gilmour, Olivia Newton-John, and 70’s band Katrina and the waves (Walking On Sunshine)

The ‘U’s’were founded as Abbey United in 1912. They were a nomadic team who settled at their current Abbey Stadium in 1949. Since 2006 Cambridge United have had numerous plans for a new stadium thwarted in a similar vein to The Mighty Mariners.
A Cambridge United existed as well from 1909 but had no links to the club we know today who became Cambridge United in the year of The Festival Of Britain, 1951. The ‘U’s’ were elected to the football league in 1970.

A long mid-week journey south, on the back of the preceding poor run, would challenge many but the B&W Army still arrived 369 strong. Chesterfield Mariner stalwarts journey south concluded at The Kingston Arms where recuperation and preparation were indulged in contented harmony.

RFP Will and Sophie welcome Mariner supporters on behalf of United supporters.
Roy discloses info. from long ago college days to a disbelieving Walthamstow Mariner Lisa.
TefMan appears proud to be of service to The Squire. Former college associate, Isleham Mariner, Russel considers the tales yet to be raised!!

En route to the Abbey Stadium, TefMan recounted previous visits to Cambridge. His logistical duties necessitates retention of such information in order he can respond to the needs of The Squire as appropriate. He recalled visits to:
           The Wrestlers - where local taxi firms, standby to transport The Squire as required.
           The Cambridge Blue - visits determined by refreshment needs.
           The Red Lion, Histon - previously a firm favourite, surprisingly not now as welcoming.
           The Dobblers - not necessarily first choice...........

TefMan passes on the benefit of his experience to a very appreciative Tim and Derby Dan.
Leading light of the GTFC Supporters Club, Moira, appreciates the journey endured by Histon Mariner Logistics Director to get to The Abbey.
Inside the Abbey Stadium, The Fish, The Fringe (poorly hidden) and Muswel Hill Mariner compare notes.

It is pleasing to report Muswel Hill Mariner Scott’s expedition from the south to Blundel aboard the ‘Orient Charabanc’ amongst RFP was conducted in great spirits. The journey back home however was endured with great fortitude. The journey south was probably made more endurable by Scott’s rediscovering his appetite for scoring at the crease and the news of his scoring off the pitch!

Gerry particularly pleased with a dead mongoose on his head.
Grimsby Mariner Mr.Owen in a state of disbelief.

Never one to miss an opportunity to assist with research in support of The Campaign TefMan spotted a perfect opportunity but...

...on arrival at the point of dispense The Squire pointed out to the total disbelief of TefMan the non-availability of the desired fare.



No pies on sale!                                0/10. No pies offered for sale at all!!!

Alternative Cheeseburger                 5/10. Extra point deducted because of necessity to try
                                                                   unwanted alternative.
                                                                   Dry (stale?) roll. Burger Ok.
                                                                   Cheese melted. Choice of al dente or well cooked
                                                                   Temperature Ok.

                                                   Sauces, salt and pepper all available.


                                 Damned if you do. Damned if you don’t.
MJ had recently been increasingly criticised for tinkering with team selection but changes were necessary for the visit to the University town, where MJ would once again face a stern examination, in order to halt a run of 3 consecutive league defeats.
3 changes and a change in formation to 5-3-2 was an understandable indication of intent, given recent results.

Obviously McKeown’s penalty save enabled parity to be maintained.
Other than the penalty incident, for all the possession and dominance of the ‘U’s’, Town were never put under severe pressure. The three centre-backs Ohman, Pollock and Waterfall looked assured. Gibson again solid and Hendrie looked a little like his old self. The time might well have arrived when Pollock is now first choice centre-back: his recovery from a rare first-half mistake indicated a level of confidence and ability that warrants such elevation.

Given the ‘U’s’, on the back of a decent run and a victory by the same margin as Towns last defeat, were likely to start on the ascendancy, the unfolding scenario was no surprise. And accordingly the mid-field and attack were as expected involved in a rearguard action of hurry-scurry and work rate rather than a display of enterprising and skilful attacking football. In this context the 5 forward players could not be faulted for their work rate.
Roses introduction late on caused some problems for Cambridge and The Mighty Mariners could have nicked all 3 points.
However most would have taken 0 v 0 beforehand which is more often than not an indication of context.
Only the 3rd clean-sheet in 15 league games this season!

Jolley passed his Cambridge examination.

Histon Mariners Man of the Match : MATT POLLOCK

"His name is a fish"

Such a game even more so than usual tends to draw multifarious views especially from those not in attendance. With this in mind the views of the opposing Manager should provide some balance. Cambridge Manager, Colin Calderwood a respected manager and international player of some repute spoke after game.


A further dimension of the game was provided by a well wrapped-up “Jolley Boy Tony (?)”, who despite his constant battle with the temperature, managed to enlighten all around him with acute observations and analysis.

Those surrounding him (not many from the evidence above) took onboard his assessment of the linesman’s inability to spot a foul throw because of a raised foot. Unfortunately it was pointed out by members of his audience (Paul) that Tony would take his observations back onboard the coach for analysis for the entire duration of the journey back to Cleethorpes.

Paul lets the cat out of the bag! Judith as ever remains diplomatically silent.
Emma and Stuart struggle with Tony’s analysis.
Pete looks forward to the journey home......!

Journeys home have produced many stories none more so than missed connections at Doncaster. On 23.03.19 after a similar 0 v 0 against Bury (!) saw many of The B&W Army stranded en route from Cleethorpes. Amongst those waiting for cabs to continue south, were Addlestone Rob and Young Mariner Tilly. After a same 0 v 0 result presumably against a team who will remain in the football league, the journey from Cambridge would prove less arduous and thus encourage consideration of a point gained rather than a point lost.

The Campaign Marches On. Onwards and Upwards.


26.10.19 Cheltenham P v P GTFC

The incredible influence of Luke Waterfall is undeniable. After the Macclesfield abandonment some scepticism was understandable - now his influence is indisputable.

Leasing.com Trophy - 29.10.19 GTFC 1 v 2 Leicester City U21

02.11.19 Plymouth Argyle P v P GTFC

Plymouth Argyle v GTFC Ticket
Plymouth Argyle v GTFC Ticket

The original settlement of Plympton was up stream from the City of today. When the river silted up, commerce moved downstream to a town named Sutton. Sutton was officially renamed Plymouth in 1440.
Sir Francis Drake was mayor of Plymouth 1583-91. The Pilgrim Fathers set sail from Plymouth which gives credence to The Mayflower being on the crest of the football club.
The dockyard is the UK’s only naval base that refits nuclear submarines.
Plymouth Gin produced since 1793, originally for the navy, has a ‘controlled term of origin’ since 2015.
Famous Plymptonians: Capt.Bligh (Mutiny on the Bounty), Michael Foot (Labour Leader), ‘Robin Hood’ (actor Richard Green), Donald Sindon (actor), Wayne Sleep and Trevor Francis.

Summerskills Brewery (1983) are Plymouth's oldest surviving brewer and Roam Brewery, founded in 2012 but renamed 2015, are a recent and welcome arrival to the fraternity.

Founded in 1886, playing at Home Park since 1901. The original Home Park was destroyed in the blitz and again in 2002 when the new stadium emerged.
The debate about the name Argyle continues but the favourite reason being the Argyle Tavern where the founders allegedly met.
Famous ex-players include Kevin Hodges (620 appearances), fan favourite Tommy Tynan, Paul Mariner and often forgotten, Bruce Grobbelaar and Peter Shilton.
Not surprisingly, given the geography, few players have played for both clubs but include John Mulholland, Frank Squires, Doug Collins, Rhys Wilmott, Stuart Brace, Damien McCory and Callum Dyson (recently forced to retire at 23 through injury). Not well known is that Towns record goalscorer Pat Glover moved to Plymouth in 1939 but played only 2 games because of the onset of WW2.

The Jolley 'Boyz' gallantly took on the role of the vanguard party in their joint manoeuvres with the Histon Mariners. It was rumoured that one or two of their party were employing skills and expertise gained during WW2 but untalked of since 1945. (Official Secrets)

Prior to departure, Histon Mariner Logistics Director appeared to struggle with ascertaining the precise meeting point. However rather than depend on psycho powers a sudden realisation re. the availability of digital technology alleviated the onus of responsibility from the broad shoulders of experienced tour guide ‘JC’.
Further communication re. the forecasted deluge of rain (again) and gale-force winds, was immediately dismissed when the availability of suitable refreshments was mentioned alongside the imminent meeting with Stuart Brace - the Campaign Of Real Football Fans soldiers on regardless. The main concern at this early stage of the predicted weather were the potential difficulties to be encountered by fragile veterans - but old soldiers never die.

The first-leg of the journey for the Histon Mariners witnessed a long collaboration with Hull City exiles Duncan and Malcolm en-route to Fulham. Real Football People welcome such occasions, this was no exception with the exchange of stories, memories and wind-ups setting the day up in the desired and correct spirit.

News of the postponement of the game filtered through as the train reached Exeter...
....the third rain affected fixture since the arrival of Waterfall!!!

Not surprisingly the format of the days campaign appeared set. The omens looked good on arrival at base camp

A need for early refreshment was admirably catered for in the surrounding old dock area by surviving old-school hostelries.

The Fareham Inn proved to be the home of many former Naval veterans. In such company, Tony declared details of his own seafaring career. As an esteemed member of the Sea Cadets his contribution to The Battle of the North Atlantic should not be under-estimated. It would be understandable that his intense susceptibility to slightly chilly weather had its origin during those far off dark days. "We're doomed, we're doomed". With Remembrance Sunday imminent, 'We Shall Never Forget'.

The pedigree of Chesterfield Mariners leadership came to the fore and it was no surprise that the combined experience of The Squire and his Tour Manager found the most suitable Bread and Roses to host an early afternoon Seminar.

What was a surprise was the welcome resurrection of Nottingham Mariner Dave (previously referred to, with much irony, as TescoMan) partially brought about by intermediary, TefMan.

The Lord's Son is alive and well.

Inside The Bread and Roses, Ancient Mariner Tony continued to recount his Sea Cadet experiences to the Chesterfield contingent. Meanwhile The Jolley 'Boyz' were in a state of recovery from the impact of his revelations in The Fareham Inn. Plymouth was a most appropriate location for such emotional outpourings to the extent, that Lord Roy adjusted his procedural agenda.

The onset of business saw The Squire propose an additional motion for discussion.
TefMan looked for inspiration...
....Jolley 'Boy' Paul seconded the motion.

Alongside the formal business there was much discussion about the continued wellbeing of members of the B&W Army. The inclement weather showed little sign of relenting and with Ancient Mariner Tony on parade to focus attention, concerns were well founded.

Tour guide and Voice of Reason JC, talks of 'A Duty of Care' to intermediary TefMan.
Tour guide and Voice of Reason JC, talks of 'A Duty of Care' with fellow traveller Mr.Parker, to The Squire's chosen representative.

The outcome of these discussions ensured Ancient Mariner Tony had the appropriate layers of clothing to facilitate his efforts with a degree of comfort for the rest of the day.

Ancient Mariner Captain Tony Hornblower, joyously gives the thumbs up as 'Jesus' toasts the efforts of those involved in such compassionate discussions.
A euphoric Hornblower celebrated with a very 'sympathetic Stuart' and facilitator Mr. R.

The Campaign marched on, in search of The Kings Head. Ancient Mariner Tony, glowing in the warmth of such 'caring' colleagues, took the lead but land based orienteering did not appear to sit naturally with the old sea-dog. Directions were sought on-route by lost colleagues at the poignant Charles Church Roundabout, which enforced an about turn by the Ancient Mariner.

The Kings Head was eventually found.
A guard of honour was formed in recognition of veteran Pete's service.
JC checked his spreadsheet.
CP paid due reverence.
Tony continued to fight the cold.

Inside despite the disappointment of the postponement, the B&W Army continued in fine fettle.

Immediately, JC briefed Steve F. and Lindsey on proceedings thus far.
The Jolley 'Boyz' listened to a weighty contribution from Mr.P.
JC and Pete consider the weight of Mr. P's presentation....
Paul R. toasts the proceedings. The all-embracing spreadsheet is double checked. Tony continues to struggle to contain his excitement.
Satisfied with his weighty presentation, CP relaxes, Tony celebrates.
Steve F. and Lindsey acknowledge a job well done.

All in all the Black & White Army march on.

Regrouping after such a gruelling schedule was understandable. At base-camp, Lockyers Quay, the fine body of experience and decrepitude gathered for the onslaught of a further episode. The level of fitness for the job in hand could never be doubted as Stuart and Paul prepared to lead the band of disparate incoherent individuals into escalating incomprehensible ramblings.

A well deserved indulgence in fine-dining could hardly be denied after such a grueling days campaigning.

Tony still in his coat, sits between his two carers.
A brace of 'P's' acknowledge the day as a successful mission.
Chris P. basks in the glory of the days proceedings. The Old Sea Dog completely ignores him.
'The Art of Conversation Lives On', Old gits Stuart, JC and Tony disprove the cynics with a display of youthfulness - on their appendages.

Once Histon Mariner Logistics Director (allegedly) woke up, the call for a night cap was eagerly embraced. Onto the Cookhouse & Pub where a selection of Oveltine, Horlicks and Bournvita were readily available. Matt Dean, Radio Humberside colleague of John Tondeur, was on hand to congratulate the joint Jolley 'Boyz' - Histon Mariner collaboration. It was unanimously agreed that the joint efforts will have left an easily forgettable imprint on the rich tapestry of The Campaign of Real Football.

A point is usually reached, the morning after the night before, when the question arises as to why such ventures are taken on. Unanimously the answer is always "because we do" and "see you all next week".


FA Cup Round 1 - 09.11.19 GTFC 1 v 1 Newport County

Town 'in the hat' for the draw - will travel to Maldon & Triptee in Round 2 ................
.................. if we win at Newport!

FRIDAY 15-11-19 @ APPROX 11.40 P.M.


16.11.19 GTFC P v P Newport County


The Histon Mariners wish Caretaker Manager Anthony Limbrick good luck. If his spell in charge is so successful he secures the job full-time, so be it. The squad is good enough, as demonstrated earlier in the season - he has a chance but time is of the essence.

23.11.19 Northampton Town v GTFC

Northampton Town v GTFC Ticket
Northampton Town v GTFC Ticket

In the centre of England, Northampton was always a key strategic location. As a key Viking base In the south of England its defences were strengthened by the Normans by making it a walled town. Within the walls in the 12th and 13th centuries Northampton regularly hosted Parliament - the last in 1380- and at the time Northampton had England's 3rd oldest university before it too was disbanded.
The arrival of the Grand Union Canal (1815) and the Industrial Revolution in the 1840's enabled Northampton to become the national centre of the leather and footwear industries, hence The Cobblers. The arrival of the M1 (1959) helped maintain Northampton as a key element of the distribution industry. Northampton became a designated New Town in 1968 and now claims to be the largest town (non-city status) in England.

Local breweries: the excellent Phipps Northampton Brewing Company, originally founded 1801, reborn 2008, Frog Island (b.1994) and in nearby Towcester, Great Oakley (2008).

Illustrious Northamptonians - Francis Crick (DNA), Judy Carne (Rowan & Martin's Laugh-in), 'Whispering' Bob Harris (Old Grey Whistle Test), Ben Cohen (Rugby), Graham Swann and Sam Curran (Cricket).

Northampton has some claim to be a rugby union town with Northampton Saints having an average attendance of 12417 - 5.5% of the population, the 5th best supported rugby union team.

Players for both Grimsby and Northampton, Paul Wilkinson, Dave Gilbert, Richard Hope, Alan Connell, Chris Doig, Akwasi Asante, JJ Hooper, and currently Reece Hall-Johnson.

No apology is offered for repeating that Histon Mariner, Roy Cropper saw The Cobblers in their only season in Division 1. Loosing at Anfield 5 v 0 on 13-11-1965, (54 years and 10days ago). Witnessing goals from St.John, Stevenson (pen), Hunt, Callaghan and Thompson, Histon Mariner and grandfather were part of a 41,904 attendance.

A 55.4 mile journey for The Histon Mariners is the 4th shortest journey of the league season - behind Cambridge, Stevenage and Leyton Orient. However measured in terms of minutes/mile, away to Northampton is the most arduous journey of the league season even if all goes to plan!

Planned train journey:           9.44   Cambridge to Kings Cross
                                             11.15  Euston to Northampton arriving 12.14.
                                                              (150 mins = 2.70 mins/mile)
Actual journey:                      9.44   Cambridge to Kings Cross
                                             11.15  Euston to Northampton, train cancelled
                                             11.43  Euston to Milton Keynes
                                             12.13  Milton Keynes to Northampton arriving 12.37.
                                             But....  Milton Keynes to Northampton leg replaced by a bus.    
                                             12.45  Milton Keynes to Northampton arriving 13.35.
                                                                (231 mins = 4.17 mins/mile)

"All Town Are We"

The frustration of the journey was alleviated somewhat by a visit to the excellent Malt Shovel.

Unfortunately prematch preparations were sabotaged by industrial action and engineering works in various locations. For example the normal 'seamless cohesiveness' of the Chesterfield Mariners was totally disrupted. TefMan opted for automobile transport but hit numerous delays. Even industry insider Gareth The Engine was equally troubled by delays. It had been considered odd that The Squire of Hasland, had concluded his 'political negotiation' to accompany Lady Barbara on one of their periodic 'progresses', on the only weekend in four when The Mighty Mariners were playing. After the difficulties faced by everyone else it was realised the prior knowledge had by The Squire could only be viewed as appropriate to his station!

Alas the circumstances and lack of time meant the eagerly anticipated visit to the Albion Brewery Bar, just a few hundred yards from the Malt Shovel, would have to wait for another day.

Recent results have been dwelled on more than usual because of the highly unusual cancelation of 3 of the last 4 games. There has been little chance to put things right with the situation being further exacerbated by the uncertainty of the managerial change.
With these factors in mind the B&W Army made a great effort, with 597 the official attendance. There was an air of "Town need our support, we're here to show solidarity". The B&W Army remained upbeat throughout and left in relative good humour which reflects on Towns performance.

Fashion icon and stalwart Gerry, with pet beaver on his head.
Jason attempts to disassociate from the peddler of fake news, Alister.
A beaming Lisa with an almost smiling McMike......
Chuckle Brothers, Sean and Steve.
Del Boy Pete and Rodney very happy either side of top-totty Linda.
TefMan and Donny Paul appeared to cope well without stately leadership.
Mr.R. consults 'The Spreadsheet'.
Mr.P. unaware of any attention, checks to see anyone has bothered to call.
Mr.R. consults 'The Spreadsheet'.
Mr.P. aware of the attention, adjusts accordingly.
Muswel Hillbilly, Scott, studiously contemplates Limbrick's positive team selection.



Chicken & Mushroom                  7.5 / 10   Above average with discernible bits of poultry
(1 of 3 choices)                                          but little mushroom. Very hot but not volcanic.

                                                                   Sauces and salt available. Pepper?

                                                                   Bovril as ever. Tea weak.


Team selection indicated a positive intent with a 4-3-3 formation. But formations, statistical analysis and flip-charts shrink into relative insignificance compared to morale, passion and desire.

The opening 10-15 minutes witnessed Town on the front foot, dominating proceedings. The Hess and Hanson had chances, and with more clinical finishing and better luck could have taken the lead.
The efforts to play the ball on the ground appeared to reflect Limbricks reputation to do so and the effort and desire was clearly evident.

But The Cobblers in the play-off plaices and with a particularly good home record were always likely to respond. On 25 minutes the home side took the lead. A free-kick conceded a yard from the goal-line but taken 10 yards nearer the edge of the penalty area enabled a better angle for the attacking side. But poor defending enabled the attacking player time for afternoon tea at the back post and eventually a free header to make it 0 v 1.

The Mighty Mariners responded well which encouraged the B&W Army to remain upbeat - a definite positive sign. Failure to convert a couple of half-chances inevitably led to conceding again. Poor defending again made life easy for The Cobblers who went in with a 2 v 0 lead.
The opening salvoes of the second half saw The Mighty Mariners under the cosh and unable to get on the front foot but the cudgels were taken up, the B&W Army responded and the fight continued.
Positive substitutions from Limbrick implied the cause was not considered lost. Unable to pull back meant the final score remained 0 v 2. But the disappointment after the final whistle clearly visible amongst the players and a B&W Army still upbeat bodes well.

Better performances particularly from Hewitt, Clifton, Cook and Hanson helped fuel a degree of cautious optimism.

Histon Mariners Man of the Match : LIAM GIBSON

After a 0 v 2 defeat, leaving with some renewed optimism could be said to be a sad reflection of the season so far but the glass remains half-full and realism prevails.
Very quickly, remembering the journey ahead the mood was somewhat dampened more so given the cold wet weather. Once more the thought emerged as to why?

"All Town Are We"


26-11-19 GTFC v Cheltenham Town

07.12.19 GTFC v Swindon Town

GTFC Ticket
GTFC Ticket

Left Cambridge - bright sunshine, dry but cold. Optimism cautiously on a moderate upward curve. A well balanced squad of youth and advanced senility made for good bonhomie. Top venues for refreshment to be indulged and great fish & chips at McMenamys eagerly anticipated, what could possibly go wrong?
The first 6 miles took 55 minutes - proved a little frustrating, and was hopefully not an omen for the day ahead.

Safe arrival and a warm welcome at The Kingsway. Onto Willy's for pre-match briefing. Superb liquid refreshment. All on schedule, The Campaign appeared well and truly back on track. The Logistics Director reported back to The Chairman on the delay leaving Cambridge. Such a delay would have played unfathomable havoc with The Chairman's routine, and on hearing the report there was a detectable hint of a smile. On being told of the quality of the refreshment at £2.65, there was a distinct flow of Anglo-Saxon vernacular.

At Willy's The President passed on words of wisdom to James - recent Histon Mariner graduate - on the days schedule and 'the pace of proceedings'.
At McMenamys Harry Cardwell was on hand to welcome recent Histon Mariner graduate James on behalf of the players.
As ever The Histon Mariners were delighted to meet up with Town Legend Dave Boleyn.

With a mind to the following weeks trip to Brunton Park, the Squire of Hasland consulted with Roy Cropper on potential manoeuvres. Less audible than usual the Squire nevertheless suggested he would coordinate rather than delegate to either TefMan or The Engine - unsurprisingly both appeared sceptical.

The Squire finally back on parade after many weeks of domestic harmony.

Immediately prior to kick-off, "hope springs eternal":

Nathan & Mick optimistically prepare for the delights to be served up - they expressed 'lofty' expectations of Harry Clifton!
Caistor Mariners Mick and Ian "sat down" in order to contain their excitement.

BUT.....immense disappointment.
In reality a brightish opening with attacking intentions declared. Two poor goals conceded. The first a slip by McKeown (a bad day at the office) preceded by poor marking on the left by Gibson, whose recent performances had earned some plaudits, and poor marking in the box by Davis.
The second, a deflection off Waterfall that wrong footed McKeown preceded by Town not closing down the Robins attack.
0 v 2 after 25 minutes against the top team themselves on an extended unbeaten run made a difficult situation virtually impossible.
Swindon's confidence rose (further), Town's fragile confidence dropped (further) and optimism around Blundel disappeared (completely).

Personal changes at half-time Rose and Robson for Green and Whitehouse but in the same 4-3-3 formation made little difference.
And after 10 minutes a third Swindon goal brought the final curtain down.

Swindon were probably the best side faced this season, they certainly applied what is often termed "a professional approach" (cynical would be more accurate).
Recent improvements - however slight - against the 2nd and 3rd placed teams fell away against the top placed team. Several players had an off-day, no doubt all the factors mentioned played a part in Town never getting going.
The same players started the season well, goals didn't seem a problem, a never say die attitude appeared prevalent and optimistic thoughts were deemed realistic. The forth-coming fixtures will be against teams on a similar footing, will provide an opportunity to restore confidence and a better measure of the job being done by Limbrick and Ben Davies. A slice of luck would be more than welcome.

Histon Mariners Man of the Match : NOT AWARDED on a bad day at the office

The mornings early optimism had descended into abject disappointment but not quite enough to prevent the purchasing of tickets for the games against the Cumbrians and the Irons - The Campaign Marches On.

At The New Imperial Club, with the help of most welcome refreshments, New Imperial stalwart John, Histon President Maurice and a very receptive James conducted lengthy discussions that helped re-establish a more realistic perspective.

Stuart B. joined the Histon Mariners at the consistently good Nottingham House. As ever his input proved inspiring but on this occasion his contribution exceeded all expectations.
Mr.B. obviously went to extraordinary lengths to bring along Spencer M-C, whose alternative and unique perspective proved most illuminating. The extra depth derived by James from such an alternative perspective, certainly helped him develop a multidimensional and balanced view of proceedings.

The President finds some humour in the situation....!
Stuart appeared very proud with his contribution.
Later, outside Society Bar, Andy Moore listened 'intently' to Stuart enthusiastically recount his Notts contribution to the Histon Mariners Campaign.
Inside, James displayed commendable concentration whilst absorbing words of wisdom from Mr. B.

By the end of the day, the welcoming hospitality, the intelligent and often humorous presentations, together with a wave of appropriate, moderate and ultimately sustaining libations, ensured a return of the feel-good factor. This was evidenced at Society Bar, where James appeared very much in tune with former Town star Andy Moore and Histon Mariner sponsored Youth Prospect, Henry Moore. The likelihood of further tales of development in the future could not be discounted - The Chairman would be impressed with James's contribution.

After Society Bar, Messrs B., Moore and Cropper continued analysis at The Arthur's House. It was also reported that James enthusiastically continued his 'own individualistic' research on the extent of The Histon Mariner Campaign at alternative venues. His report should be 'of great interest', however, it was not, like himself, ready for presentation at the usual Kingsway Working Breakfast - as introduced by The Chairman - next morning....!

Onwards and Upwards to Brunton Park.
What could possibly go wrong?

14.12.19 Carlisle UTD 0 v 0 GTFC

Carlisle UTD v GTFC Ticket
Carlisle UTD v GTFC Ticket

The 514 mile round trip to Brunton Park would appear at first glance to be a very arduous journey. However planned at 1.07mins/mile the Carlisle trip was in many ways less troublesome than the planned 2.7mins/mile Northampton journey that ended up at 4.17mins/mile.

The long journey north was being made for the 3rd consecutive season.
  1st. 3-March-18 involved travelling unaffected through a national snow storm - "The Beast of The East" - to see the only fixture in the league that day.
  2nd. mid-week 2-Oct-18, after 8 games without a win.
The 3rd consecutive journey north was eagerly anticipated if for no other reason than because of such excellent venues of sustenance and refreshment.

The unique history of Britain's nationalised brewing industry, known as The State Management Scheme, was based in and around Carlisle. The story is near to being a well kept secret. Even in the 1960's the Labour Government considered extending the scheme to a fully nationalised industry.

Carlisle's state-owned breweries and pubs in history trail

Local breweries: Carlisle Brewing Co.(b.2007 and re-b. 2013), Great Corby Brewing (b. 2015) and at nearby Walton, The Old Vicarage Brewery (b. Jan. 2019)

Given the visit to Carlisle was the day after the General Election, such topicality as the result being mentioned can be excused - on this occasion! The similarities to Great Grimsby are note-worthy.

Carlisle:               Cons. held 8319 majority, 55.2% of vote. 2016 referendum, 60.1% leave.
Great Grimsby:    Cons. gain 7331 majority, 54.9% of vote. 2016 referendum, 69.9% leave

Illustrious 'Gilligans' - schoolboy hero of Histon Mariner, Cropper, Peter Thompson and also Kevin Beattie (great England international players for Liverpool and Ipswich respectively), Stephen Borthwick (Rugby), Melvin Bragg (broadcaster and author), Paul Nixon (cricket) and the mum of American President Woodrow Wilson, who made several visits to Carlisle.

Players for both The Mariners and The Cumbrians - Bobby Mitchell, Dave Moore, Scott McGarvey, Steve Livingstone, Paul Raven, Paul Warhurst, Anthony Williams, Simon Grand, Dave Wilson, Lee Peacock and Jamie Devitt.
And never let it be forgotten, our shared Bill Shankly connection!

******A very relaxing and comfortable journey north, arriving exactly on schedule.******

The day continued in similar vein at 'The Spirit of Cumbria' where Roy Cropper and Doncaster Mariner Paul sang from the same hymn sheet over a rejuvenating cup of tea as they reviewed in harmony recent events.

The tranquility had the potential to be disturbed with the appearance of the Derbyshire Contingent. And surely enough the planned itinerary for the joint forces, was as far from the traditional (as mentioned above in the State Management Scheme) as was possible, reflecting the wide diversity of venues in Carlisle. The ensuing names of venues frequented reiterate this point. The troops were soon en route to 'The Fat Gadgie.'

Inside The Engine was soon able to direct TefMan in the direction of "a glass half full".
The Squire enthusiastically points out his "Favourite Town Supporting Son-in-Law...!!!"
TefMan proposes a toast with with a "half-full glass".
The Squire’s display of breeding, the crocked little finger whilst partaking.
TefMan with "glass half-full" predicts a 2 goal victory as he and Derby Mariner Andy listen to a positive presentation from The Squires favoured Town supporting Son-in-Law.

Leaving 'The Fat Gadgie' for 'The Last Zebra' would have been unimaginable even a few short years ago when The Crown' to The Red Lion' would have been more likely.

Local brewery Great Corby provided an element of tradition.

The usual robust planning and preparation for the afternoons fixture ploughed on relentlessly but a significant occurrence over-shadowed all else. Teflon Man proved almost human by allowing his remarkable protective veneer to slip in full view of a rather crowded establishment.
His surveys of establishment facilities is a procedure not generally known about. The publicity - given his usual low-key manoeuvres - surrounding his visit to 'The Ladies' prior to his visit to 'The Gents' seemed to cause some embarrassment. However we should be grateful for his efforts and respect his thirst for knowledge.

In the fullness of time TefMan recovered his usual composure and gave a detailed account of his findings to an enthralled Doncaster Paul. Again to reiterate, we can only admire his thirst for knowledge.

On leaving 'The Last Zebra' The Squire and Doncaster Paul wait for TefMan who may well have sought to verify his findings.
On leaving, Derby Andy relayed events to fellow Derby Mariners Dan and Tim.
N.B. The Engine looks very content with the days revelations.

En route to Brunton, The Squire reminded everyone about his retail experiences and in particular his knowledge of retail in Carlisle. In addition he relayed the interests of The Lady of The Manor and his need for reconnaissance of local Parish Churches. Whilst in the Diocese of Carlisle the Parish Church of St.Aidan caught his attention and we are confident MeLady will appreciate his report.

The 146 year old Carlisle Rugby Club play next door to the 115 year old Football Club. On this day they were at home to Blaydon RFC in the North Premier National League.

Inside Brunton Park the B&W Army numbered 217. It started off cold and as the temperature dropped ended bitterly cold. This temperature concern immediately raised concerns about the well-being of Tony Hornblower........

Whilst the Old Gits displayed great communal compassion for Tony H.....
......Care In The Community for Hornblower was delegated to Rodney 'Pete' Trotter.
The Squire recounts tales of local parish churches to an excited Derby Tim.
Gareth relays an account of TefMans exploratory antics to a disbelieving Derby Dan.
East Halton Mariners Mike and Mandy optimistic as ever.
'Voices of Reason' as ever from Doncaster and Croxton, compare notes on seasonal headwear.
Imperial John and Derby Tim could barely contain their excitement as kick-off approached.



                          Steak Pie                  8/10    Good meat content. Good gravy.
                       (Choice of 2)                           Shortcrust pastry. Good temperature.

                                                                       Pepper but no salt available.
                                                                       Ketchup and mustard but no brown available.

                                                                       Bovril as ever.

                       Cheeseburger.            5/10    Burger OK - just! Cheese OK - just!
                                                                      Roll - good. No Onions!!!

                                                                      Tea weak.

A Cumberland Sausage should be available!


Consistency of system (4-3-3) against a team in a similar position as Town (though had only lost 1 in 8) and with Max Wright returning, The B&W Army appeared mildly optimistic - albeit very mildly so.
The Mighty Mariners certainly left the trap on full throttle, vis-a-vis against Northampton and Cheltenham but again good chances were not taken, vis-a-vis against Northampton and Cheltenham. Hitting the bar, grazing the post and a goal disallowed do not register on the scoresheet.
On a good run Town would probably have been 3 goals up, and considered to have rode their luck.
On a poor run the fine margins don't go in your favour and you are considered unlucky. Results need to change.

Results need to change. Reversing such fortunes can sometimes turn on one small incident. On the evidence of early season performances by the same squad and given the current show of commitment, the season can be turned round but....it needs to happen sooner rather than later.
Waterfall and Davies marshalled the back four limiting Carlisle to very few real chances - one long range effort that hit the bar being notable. Hendrie looked assured, which after so long out was encouraging and may be back to last seasons level of performance. Gibson again steady.
The mid-field gets criticised - not always unfairly - for a lack of creativity but it was the failure to put chances away rather than the lack of chances that meant the points were shared. Robson probably the most creative mid-fielder currently on the books deserves a run of games.

Histon Mariners Man of the Match : ETHAN ROBSON

Post match analysis was arranged at 'The Spirit Of Cumbria'. En-route Gareth and TefMan ensured The Squire was well catered for on his journey home.

Ultimately the feeling of 2 points lost rather than a point gained was the prevalent opinion.

Histon Mariners journey south was assumed to be a repeat of the very pleasant journey north. However delays meant the 5 hour 47 minute scheduled journey evolved into an 8 hour 35 minute journey (2.0 mins/mile) arriving in Cambridge at 0212 hours. The very wet cycle home from the station provided the perfect scenario to reflect on the essence of being a Real Football follower.

                ******A very tedious and uncomfortable journey south, 3.5 hours late....
                                                          ......Cambridge to Cleethorpes next week!!! ******


21.12.19 GTFC 0 v 1 Scunthorpe UTD

GTFC v Scunthorpe UTD Ticket
GTFC v Scunthorpe UTD Ticket

From the outset the delights of the rail network assumed an unwelcome key element of the day - one should not be surprised. The 0559 from Cambridge was cancelled, alternative routes were adopted. Arrival somehow more or less on time - just extra changes and more hassle - hopefully that would be the end of 'railworries' on this day......

A 1 O'Clock kick-off obviously changes established routines - perhaps the change would bring a change of fortune.

The award winning No.2 Bar at the Rail Station provided a refreshing welcome to Cleethorpes. The availability of the previously unheard of Parkway Brewing Co. without doubt dispelled 'rail-worries' and encouraged a belief in a change of fortune.

A near sell-out crowd witnessed a degree of festivity. Town stalwart Gerry gave his pet beaver a Xmas break and pledged to encourage Steve 'to believe' in the new year.

Chesterfield Mariners relentless Campaigning is legendary. On this occasion it can neither be confirmed or denied that TefMan was pursuing his 'alternative interests'........

Heiresses Charlotte and Becky take advantage of absent charges. Charlotte's dedication to duty is displayed in both hands!
The Squire never off duty, and with A Duty Of Care, checked on the well-being of the youngest generation of his successors.
(or possibly on the activities of TefMan.......)

There has been a discernible improvement in performances, there appears to be a positive commitment to the cause and there is an identifiable system of play, which supporters largely welcome but there have been no goals, 1 point from the 4 games presided over by AL and patience is limited.
The Irons arrived with 16 points the last 6 games.
Again selection indicated a positive approach. Again The Mighty Mariners dominated he opening exchanges. Again the post was hit (Max Wright), again chances were missed (Matt Green), again Town failed to score.
At half-time Town had dominated possession, the Irons had had real chances, the B&W Army were generally positive BUT
Town were still goal-less!

The second half was similar with Town dominating play and failing to convert any chances created (Luke Hendrie). Cruelly The Irons clinically converted their only real chance after an hour. Iron supporters will not remember the quality of their performance when the the three points are registered.
Town continued to press. Substitute Moses Ogbu could/should have won a penalty. His brief appearance gave a fleeting reminder of his Exeter performance and suggested a run of games could be productive.
Pushing for an equaliser presented The Irons with a second chance well saved by McKeown. However the currently repetitive and familiar scenario of playing well(ish), creating chances but not converting them whilst limiting opposition to fewer chances played out again - the struggle continues.

Limbrick understandably must be tearing his hair out wondering where to turn to next, with the existing squad.
There is no hiding from the importance of results. Good fortune has not been a friend of AL and unless these mutually exclusive elements quickly become bedfellows, supporter patience unfortunately may evaporate.

Histon Mariners Man of the Match : ETHAN ROBSON

Time restrictions limited post-match analysis, as indeed did the feelings of deja-vu and genuine concern for AL's misfortune. Assisted by a couple of Christmas Elves the search for answers whilst not finding definitive solutions certainly raised the spirits and a belief that good fortune must be around the proverbial corner.

The Elves dig into the statistics - in the absence of a well read spreadsheet.
Santa's Little Helpers soon find inspiration and look to the future with renewed optimism.

Back to Cleethorpes Station in ample time provided a welcome opportunity to check on the initial favourable impressions of The Parkway Brewing Co. Plus literally a world away, the television was showing Liverpool v Flamengo for the World Club Championship - a moments reflection would raise the thought that an age ago, The Mighty Mariners competed on the same stages as Liverpool.......
In such circumstances further 'rail-worries' never registered as the conviviality at The No.2 Bar reminded The Histon Mariners of The Campaign For Real Football. Scunthorpe fan Geordie Ken, fully recognised his team had performed a genuine 'smash and grab' at Blundel, that Town didn't deserve to loose and would be fine, on the evidence of days display. Ken, a follower at every Scunthorpe game, also exchanged familiar rail stories with The Histon Mariners that readjusted focus onto the task in hand.

The last train home was the 18.26. The 18.26 was cancelled. A taxi was arranged, not to Cambridge but to Doncaster because of "different responsibilities for different legs of the journey" and "a connection could still be made" but only if the 56 mile journey could be completed in 35 minutes. However the connection was made as the connecting train was itself 40 minutes late. However the advice given was not to change at Peterborough because of flooding and to change at Stevenage but if any problem emerged no responsibility would be taken because the connecting train would be a different company! The gamble on Peterborough was taken, all went well, apart from being 75 minutes late.

'Rail-worries' apart Macclesfield away on Boxing Day would be another day, another opportunity for The Mighty Mariners and another chapter in The Campaign For Real Football.

See : www.gameofthepeople.com


As refreshment was taken at The No.2 Bar, Liverpool hit the footballing headlines on 21st December, when they became World Club Champions. Given the respective situations that Town and Liverpool now find themselves in, it may be a surprise to some of tender years, that not so very long ago they regularly shared the same stages - even on Christmas Day in 1957.....


26.12.19 Macclesfield Town 1 v 1 GTFC

**** No tickets given at the cash only turnstiles! ****

Notable Maxonians include Nick Robinson (BBC political broadcaster), Jonathon Agnew (Cricket), Ian Curtis (Joy Division), Peter Crouch (Occasional robotic dancer and husband to Abbey C !), Ben Ainslie (Rower), John Mayall (Legendary Bluesman) and Town Legend Chris Nicholl.

Macclesfield Breweries: RedWillow (b.2010). Storm Brewing Co. (b.1998)

For no particularly obvious reason there have been many players who have turned out for the Mariners and the Silkmen. Tommy Widdrington (Town 1996-98 : Macclesfield 2003-05), Alan Fettis (2003-04 : 2004-06), Martin Gritton (2004-05 : 2007-09), Paul Bollond ( 2005-08 : 2009-11), Isiah Rankin (2006-07 : 2008), Jack Mackreth (2014-16 : 2016-17), Rhys Browne (2016 : 2017), Danny Andrew (2016-17 : 2012-14), Luke Summerfield (2016-18 : 2017) and Elliot Hewitt (2019- : 2010-12)

The visit to Macclesfield served as a sharp reminder of the precarious state of OUR game outside the secluded environment of the Premiership Land Of Make-Believe. Everyone knows of Bury, of Bolton and Macclesfield. Everyone should be aware of Oldham, Notts. County, of Blackpool, Chesterfield and Wrexham and the multitude sailing close to the wind!
A day of no choice meant 'rail-worries' would not be part of the Christmas Festivities. Instead a combination of masterly diplomatic skills, logistical flexibility, luck and bonhomie was required to blend together, in order to facilitate the Boxing Day visit to Moss Road. A trip north by Senior Management to visit family together with considerable assistance from The Derby Mariners, fortuitously, enabled a Christmas wish to come true. Weather conditions were atrocious and appeared set for the day. The best that could be wished for would be 3 points - marginally more optimistic than the weather!

Left Cambridge 08.30. Arrived Allestree 10.50. Time for some Yuletide Felicitations before pressing on to the 12.00 designated meeting point, The Markeaton. But with military precision (and just a little cunning) time miraculously appeared available for a solitary, peaceful and most welcome Christmas aperitif!!!

The Derby Mariners were in situ for the designated meeting time. Naturally Derby Chairman, Andy, occupied the driving seat - both literally and figuratively - whilst the well known junior double act, Dan and Tim gave up the co-pilot seat, with due deference, to the aged Roy C. In true Festive Spirit, Chm. Andy extended his taxi service by collecting Nottingham Mariner, Londy, from the rail station. The dishevelled rail employee Londy, experienced no 'rail-worries' - the book remains open as to the causes of his state of appearance...

Given the dire circumstances Macclesfield appeared to be in, it was no surprise when looking to park near Moss Lane, that appearances were 'a little downbeat'. The club had recently had points deducted because of unfulfilled fixtures due to players striking after non-payment of wages. Since those unfulfilled fixtures another game had been cancelled because of the lack of a Safety Certificate, with further points being deducted. With Court Orders hanging over the Club, another missed fixture could prove calamitous.
Only at 13.20 on 24th Dec. was the fixture confirmed after the granting of a Safety Certificate. Because the game had been in doubt since the weekend, few tickets had been sold. GTFC officially stopped selling tickets 40 minutes before the announcement at 13.00 on the 24th Dec. Once the game was confirmed Macclesfield announced tickets would be available on the day for cash only!

The air of despondency around Moss Lane was insufficient to dampen the enthusiasm of the B&W Army. In a temporary respite of the weather, Tour Leader Andy arranged refreshment for his underlings at The Society Rooms.

Dan looked pleased to get the old boys off his back. Tim and Londy provide admirable support.

The business considered to be of a more weighty content (perhaps delusionally) was conducted at the excellent Red Willow.

Responsible Tour Leader Andy surveying the soft drinks menu.

Regular intelligence updates from The Chesterfield Mariners, deployed in the Silkmen Club Bar, confirmed ongoing concerns stemming from the turmoil surrounding Macclesfield. At one stage it appeared only 400 away fans were to be allowed in the seated stand, with the away end terrace being closed. Later reports suggested The Local Constabulary advised the end to be opened. Discussions at The Red Willow noted the team news which had the one change - Moses Ogbu in for Matt Green. Limbrick's aim of consistency in selection was certainly being perused. But the unfortunate circumstances surrounding The Silkmen dominated discussions, inevitably raising thoughts about Bury, Bolton etc etc. The Campaign For Real Football marches on.

****** Observations from Macclesfield re-affirmed, "Be careful what you wish for" ******

Undeterred The B&W Army displayed an intense focus on matters in hand for which they have become 'infamous'.

Croxton undeterred by the awful weather, queues for whatever tickets are available.
Decoy Alistair attempts to divert attention from an undercover Jason.
Disheveled Nottingham Mariner Londy checks on what day it was.
A solo Hornblower looked well prepared for the battle ahead.



                              Steak Pie.                    2/10    Smallest pie in the league?
                           (Choice of 5)                             Partially burnt shortcrust pastry so dry it
                                                                             resembled polystyrene.
                                                                             Meat (just so described) - very dry.

                                                                             Salt, pepper, ketchup and brown sauce available.
                                                                             Temperature hot.

                                                                             Smallest Bovril in the league.

                     Devon(Cornish) Pasty.         5/10    Shortcrust Pastry, very dry, slightly burnt.
                                                                             Filling O.K.


The trip to Moss Road was expected to be more difficult than first impressions would suggest.
    - The pitch was particularly ill-prepared, unsurprisingly given that it was also
       currently the Clubs training facility. Obviously whilst being the same for both
       sides, Towns 'free-flowing football' would not be helped!
    - Macclesfield's league position should have been mid-table.
       It was only lower because of the point-deduction.
    - Having played them 2.5 times at Blundel, the teams were only separated by
       one goal, by penalties and by a deluge.
    - Macclesfield were unbeaten in the previous 4 games (all draws)
    - A team under a siege mentality, often prove very resilient.

Worryingly, a very familiar story unfolded, to the frustration of all Town supporters.
Again Town set off with a clearly aggressive attacking mentality. Again Town created enough chances to have finished the game off very early on. Again Max Wright shaved the post. Again the opposition goalkeeper performed at the top of his game. Further unconverted chances by Hendrie, Waterfall and Wright reflected the conversion problem throughout the team. Again 0 v 0 at half time.
Again failure to convert domination into a tangible lead is invariably punished. 10 minutes into the second half a successful penalty conceded by Davies, gave Macclesfield the lead.

Indicative of recent weeks, the Mighty Mariners heads did not drop and fought back strongly - understandably in supporters eyes, in hope rather than expectation.
However 10 minutes later, substitute Akeem Rose put through Charles Vernam who scored ( 1 minute short of a barren 700 !) The spell was broken - or was it ? Town pressed in the search of a winner, again chances were not converted. Hessenthaler, Robson, Rose and Whitehouse illustrating the problem is not simply a problem of strikers.
An away point is not a bad result but when it should have been three points, it can feel like one. On the other hand the goal induced a feel good factor - very confusing emotions.

Histon Mariners Man of the Match : CHARLES VERNAM

Reaction from a recognisable and noticeably small section of the B&W Army was disappointing. Disappointment, obvious. Frustration, inevitable. Irascibility, increasing. Anger, unfortunate. Concern, understandable. Exasperation, generally shared. Discontent to be held at bay. Understanding the situation is not the same as accepting the situation. Perhaps boringly solutions are about hard work and good fortune.
The players are undoubtedly putting a shift in. Heads are not dropping. In such circumstances they deserve the support they get from the overwhelming majority of the B&W Army.
There are not legions of proven genuine philanthropists willing and able to gamble with unlimited funds. Plenty of hard work appears apparent, good fortune is not. 699 minutes of drought brought to an end - the glass is half full. The Campaign marches on.

Bad Manners Dan Does Tina!

For the first time in awhile the post-match journey was upbeat made even more so by revelations from Derby Dan. Perhaps caught up in post-match euphoria Dan announced his karaoke performance lined up for the 27th. Further he stated as well as his regular rendition of Bad Manners, "Lip Up Fatty" he was contemplating extending his repertoire to include Tina Turner's, "Simply The Best". With the Town fixture v. Crawley, an Old Firm Derby in Glasgow and his karaoke performance confirmed it is no surprise that Derby Mariner Chairman Andy, considers his squad to be in such fine shape.....


29.12.20 GTFC 1 v 1 Crawley Town






01.01.20 GTFC 1 v 1 Salford City

GTFC v Salford City Ticket
GTFC v Salford City Ticket

A level of excitement, not felt for sometime, was evident on the journey north but would 'rail-worries' emerge and put a damper on on proceedings? A new year, a new decade, a new era at Blundel and even the days getting lighter, surely Rail Network could not spoil the party?

Left Cambridge on time, a good connection at Peterborough, the weather improved mile by mile, after a good connection at Doncaster all appeared on schedule, refreshment in Cleethorpes was increasingly anticipated, even after a 'refreshingly and rather bumpy' New Years Eve! However........
........ Rail Network made one one final effort via a half hour delay at Harbrough. Excited Mariners, eager to participate in the days proceedings, did contemplate alighting in order to hail a taxi but the day got back on track when the emergency services cleared the offending body from the line!

The final leg heard Doncaster Mariner Chris give an erudite validation of Ian Holloway's depiction of Brentford as a workable model for The Mighty Mariners. Chris, once a long time emigrant to Hounslow, had followed The Bees, and was in total accord with IH. His presentation only served to accentuate the anticipation.

On arrival at Cleethorpes, Wakefield Mariner Jason proposed a toast to Doncaster Mariner Chris.

Whilst some things change, some things are unchangeable. After an arduous train journey a chance to regroup, rehydrate and refresh prior to the march on Blundel is always well catered for at 'The Notts'

Without doubt there was a discernible uplift in the atmosphere around Blundel, too such an extent that McMenemy Mike announced his cheerful and optimistic hopes for the future!

Legend Dave B. found Mikes enthusiasm infectious.
A very happy Ray The Fish attempts to explain to an awestruck Fringe the possibilities for the future.

Following the presentation of Ian Holloway to the fans, on his first day at the club, Ollie obviously had considerable personnel and media commitments but he still found time to meet up with the Histon Mariners, his sponsors. Not only alluding to Mr. Shankly IH also expressed great excitement at the soon to be arranged meeting with the Histon Mariners Chairman.

Town stalwart Leeson could not remember an appointment that created as much interest as that of IH.
Lottie listens to Dad Nathan's take on events and immediately had 'lofty' expectations...!

The vast experience of the Chesterfield Mariners usually induces an all encompassing and balanced perspective on proceedings, taking into account many diverse and different factors.

The Engine reviews Rail Network dilemmas, The Heiresses check on the well-being of a younger generation and on an endangered species, Chesterfield Joe,
Recently liberated Tefman compares notes on the facilities!

Anthony Limbrick remained in charge for the game, before settling in as Holloway's assistant. AL has provided consistency of selection and formation during his watch - this has facilitated a discernible uplift in team spirit and resilience. His contribution will perhaps be more appreciated with the benefit of hindsight. The only change for this game being Cook in for the injured Green.

Vernam made significant contributions to the early pressure applied by Town - again conversion of chances has not been Town's greatest quality on show in recent games.
A large slice of luck could kick start some momentum but Lady Luck has not been a regular visitor to The Mighty Mariners in recent times. A good appeal for a penalty was turned down when Cook(?) was man-handled. The Ammies looked content with a point from the start. Jordon Cook off injured (again) after only 20 minutes was replaced by Moses Ogbu. But the continuing story as in the past few games ensured 0 v 0 at half-time.

The defence was largely untroubled, Waterfall and Davies looked quite comfortable. This settled centre-back pairing must be very frustrating for Ohman and Pollock and yet not so long ago, injuries and suspensions necessitated make-shift partnerships. Hendrie looked to be recovering last seasons form and Gibson has been consistent for most of the season.
The mid-field certainly works hard but is short on creativity, directness and belief which may well be a confidence issue - cue IH!
Ethan Robson has benefitted recently from a run of games, justifying a need to extend his loan period.

The majority opinion is that the attack needs most attention. In all talk about confidence, it is not a coincidence that the further up the pitch the more fragile the confidence.
Confidence levels are boosted during good runs - strikers will attempt audacious efforts that disappear from their repertoire on poor runs - cue IH!

Salford continued to appear content with a point as the second half progressed. Town continued to fail to convert their chances. Limbrick sent on Rose as a second front-man. Nervousness became tangible towards the end - the conversion of a rare Salford chance would typify recent results.
BUT, a gold-plated chance fell to Salford whereupon an open goal was missed from about 3 yards. Unbelievably the outside of the post was scrapped, unbelievably a hugh slice of luck in Towns favour!!!
3 minutes later a through pass from Vernam to Akeem Rose saw a miscued shot on the turn creep over the line.
This short span of play with the Gods Of Fortune smiling could be a pivotal point of the season. Limbrick will hand over to Holloway a team more united than that which he inherited. A team that has conceded only 3 goals in 5 games. A team unbeaten in 3 games. A team who had found a first win in 3 months - cue IH!

Histon Mariners Man of the Match : ETHAN ROBSON

The relief around Blundel was immense, it was a lightening of weight carried for at least 12 weeks. Given the events of the previous 48 hours and the surge of expectations, the 'glass half-empty' brigade would suggest the relief felt was the lifting of a yoke carried for nearer 12 years.

Whatever, with seat-belts fastened the roll-a-coaster ahead looks exciting and highly desirable. The turbulent ride ahead will remind all of the essence of The Histon Mariner Campaign For Real Football. Ian Holloway had already invoked Bill Shankly who likewise is invoked in the first sentence of the Histon Mariner Story - a symbiotic alliance may well have been born.

Mrs.H (Kim) - allegedly - played a major part in Ollie's northern sojourn.
"Mrs Holloway's Black & White Army"

See : www.gameofthepeople.com

In Ollie we believe. In Ollie we trust.


04.01.20 Mansfield 0 v 1 GTFC

Mansfield v GTFC Ticket
Mansfield v GTFC Ticket

Situated in the Maun Valley with a population of 106,500. The post-industrial decline in coal-mining and textiles has brought about recent depopulation and a high rate of unemployment.
A Roman fortress town developed into a Royal Retreat on the edge of Sherwood Forrest. There is some evidence that the Town Centre West Gate was once viewed as the heart of the forrest.

A list of the famous born in Mansfield is very small but includes Brian Hill (GTFC 1960-67), Steve Ogrizovic (Goalkeeper) and Craig Disley (Ginger Pirlo). Shane Fenton was born in Muswell Hill but Alvin Stardust grew up in Mansfield from a very young age.

Mansfield Breweries: Kings Clipstone Brewery (b.2013) Langwith Brewery (b.2015) and Prior's Well Brewery (reb.2016)

The Stags were founded in 1897 as Mansfield Wesleyans, becoming Mansfield Town in 1910. After World War One, Mansfield Mechanics failed to pay rent on their ground, Mansfield Town took over at Field Mill. By 1931 they were elected to the Third Division (South). They were founder members of the newly formed 4th Division (1959-60).

SFFC (Stags Fans For Change) was created in season 2006-07 to peacefully force owner Keith Haslam to relinquish control of the club. Following relegation to Division 5 in 2008, a local consortium took partial control, renting the Field Mill ground until season 2010-11, when John Radford bought the club. The ground was finally bought back from previous owner Haslam on 1st March 2012. That date is now commemorated by Stag fans as 'Amber Day'. The ground was renamed The OneCall Stadium for sponsorship reasons in April 2012.....(unfortunately!)

Players for both The Mariners and The Stags: Sam Hodgson (Town 1936-48:Stags 48-49), Mark Lever (1988-2000:2002-03), Jason Pearcey (1994-98:1988-94), Michael Boulding (2001-02 and 2003-04:1999-01 and 2006-08), Craig Disley (2011-17:1994-04) and Matt Green (2019-:2011-13).


Ian Holloway's appointment brought forth a tsunami of excitement and a surge of expectations but as adrenaline subsides it is crucial to attempt to plaice expectations within realistic boundaries.
Even that well known bastion of reason and balance, The Fishy, had been awash with unrelenting optimism and spiralling hope. Of course such reactions are a reaction to years of regular disappointment and regular failure. But the almost gushing plaudits of those so regularly known for vitriolic criticism, that so often lacks realism, pragmatism and humour, must be understood as a result of remembering that football as THE game of the people is based on passion, emotion and nostalgia. To suddenly expect opinions to be based on cool detached rationality and convivial humour would be unrealistic it is because of this dynamic, that feelings and opinions are exaggerated either way when a team is on the way up or on the way down.

It is necessary to come to terms with the fact that emotional investment in ones club does not guarantee a return in terms of reward. If the Holloway years end in disappointment the fall-out would be a catastrophe that could take a very long time to recover from.

But IH has been welcomed by everyone. IH was a great appointment that immediately reinvigorated the club off the pitch. Living through the journey that the results on the pitch will take the club is eagerly anticipated because people believe the emotional investment, THIS time WILL bring rewards - but there is no guarantee - it is the enjoyment of believing that IS the reward!!!


With Peaky Blinder Cap added to ones match day kit, the cycle ride to the station begun at 0730. Every connection on time, choice of seats, buffet trolleys available, no dickheads to listen to and weather perfect......IH is a genius!

The numbers of ground troops was expected to swell (1337) on the tide of renewed enthusiasm. Stalwarts will continue to campaign on a well trodden familiar road as was soon apparent as they began to coalesce at Nottingham.

Derby Dan holds back on another musical interlude. Alford Mariner Rob waits patiently.

The Nottingham-Mansfield leg witnessed the conversation of Alford, Derby and Histon Mariners with interjections from a fellow traveller of 'the Forest variety', covering a range of topics that illustrate the multi-layered complexity of The Campaign.
Reminiscing, cynicism, optimism, criticism, compassion, humorous, observational, meaningful, nonsensical and genuine all in the space of about 40 minutes. The season so far, coming to terms with the arrival of a whirlwind, the wilderness years especially the London centric away-days - the good (Welling) the not so good (Braintree), problematic clubs - Bury, Macclesfield etc, etc., the reopening of the transfer window re-ignites talk of potential incomings & potential outgoings, welcoming and not so welcoming hostelries, Northern regeneration and the musical prowess (very small segment!) of Bad Manners Dan.

An obvious destination, The Railway Inn proved a powerful magnet. However it was not the taste of Lincolnshire that was advertised!

On arrival, as if on cue, the music playing was Thunderclap Newman's "Something In The Air"!
    - the ability of IH to effect everything is astounding!

The Railway was though a perfect sanctuary of Stag hospitality - a great advert for The Campaign. Good range of liquid refreshment and a great range of vittles (See Pie Report). The standard of conversation set on the train journey in continued, with Stag fans at the Railway. Shared beliefs about the problems created for The Game Of The People by the Premier Pantomime could not have been more in unison. The concern for the likes of Macclesfield (even The Spireites!) could not have been more in accord. All wonderfully uplifting.

Roy Cropper with The Ginger Rivaldo who has let himself go and Warren.
Bucks. Mariner Andy compares notes with legendary Stag, Warren.
Stag Gid combining Dad duties, and liaising with Histon Logistics guru.

See : www.gameofthepeople.com

The Stags lay claim, that may be disputed by The Blades re. the OneCall Stadium (aka Field Mill).

Inside the 'Oldest Ground?', the discernible level of enthusiasm, optimism and dis-belief was tangible - even amongst some of the most experienced (Old) Campaigners.

JollyBoyz - Paul, Hornblower, DelBoy and Stuart on parade.

N.B. - An aged interloper bringing up the rear.
        - An absent tour guide, allegedly appearing in 'Pirates of the Caribbean', who with
          a well organised spreadsheet and with the benefit of Hornblower's "Tales From
          The High Seas" should return with tales aplenty, "Jim Lad".

Chris P. finds a friend in Nigel L.
Caister Mariner Ian endures the Stand-Up routine of Pez.
Jason as ever looks for a 'scoop'.
Alistair maintains balance and objectivity.



           Steak Pie                  9.5/10    Sizeable pieces of cow. Shortcrust pastry. Good gravy.
        (Choice of 6)                              PLUS chose homemade chips > mash.
                                                                    chose mushy peas > veg.

At OneCall Stadium (aka Field Mill)

           Steak Pie                  9/10    Very decent meat. Good gravy. Shortcrust pastry

                                                       Salt. Pepper. Ketchup and brown sauce available.
                                                       Temperature hot.

                                                       Bovril weak because of size.

  Devon(Cornish) Pasty.       9/10    Excellent filling. Perfect temperature.
                                                        But flaky pastry!

                                                        Condiments all present and correct.

****** Is Mansfield to Pies what Grimsby is to Fish? ******


What to expect. There was definitely " Something In The Air ". One enforced change Ogbu for Cook.
As expected early Stag pressure but probably the most expensive strike-force in the division failed to beat an alert McKeown. No doubt the sending-off of Waterfall after 10 minutes would shape the following 80 minutes. A badly mistimed rather than malicious tackle would be a view supported by the centre back previously receiving only one yellow card all season.
Max Wright was sacrificed to get Matt Pollock on. Pollock has paid the price for Limbrick's correct and largely successful consistent selection policy which before Mansfield had seen 3 goals conceded in 5 games. With Waterfall likely to face a 3 game suspension, opportunities arise for others.
After surviving otherwise unscathed, towards the end of the half, The Mighty Mariners pushed forward. Dead-ball delivery confirmed an area in need of improvement. There may have been a greater willingness to shoot - Vernam had one great effort. Going in at 0 v 0 was a situation embraced by the B&W Army.

After the break Town sought to take the game to Mansfield.
The odd half-chance - Clifton broke through but failed to convert. When Rose came on for Ogbu, the change indicated counter- attack was thought to be the best option. Soon after, the Gods of Fortune, unusually, smiled on Town - the first own goal of the season. A great finish from Stag Benning under pressure in the 6 yard box would ensure a final half-hour with backs to wall.

Tremendously resilient defending from the entire team fed the B&W Army substantial cause to exercise vocal chords as Town pursued a successive 3 point haul.
Hendrie, Davies, Pollock and Gibson deserves special mention. Clifton's versatility proved invaluable, as team shape changed during the game and also to accommodate a further substitution.

A battling resilient 10 man performance reiterated the upturn in morale witnessed in recent performances. The addition of a slice of luck served to emphasise the fine margins that determine a seasons success or failure.

Without doubt Limbrick has handed a team to Holloway in much better shape than that which he inherited - cue IH.

Ollie announced, Things look "Tickety-boo!"

Histon Mariners Man of the Match : HARRY DAVIES

The most common remark heard afterwards from members of the B&W Army was "I can't believe what's happened in the last week". It has. The Holloway Era is underway. Enjoyment above expectation.
BUT there is no reason why the surge of optimism should (if it could) be curtailed!!!

The Mariners March On.

11.01.20 Leyton Orient 1 v 1 GTFC

Leyton Orient v GTFC Ticket
Leyton Orient v GTFC Ticket

The mass conurbation of London that we recognise today masks the often unique and multidimensional evolution of highly different areas of London.
When considering Leyton (E.10) today it is worth briefly contemplating, whilst there is evidence of Old Stone-Age activity and a minor Roman settlement, Leyton was essentially a 16/17th century development, as a quiet place for the well-to-do, in retirement.
As in many parts of Britain the coming of the railway was transformative. Leyton was recognised as an Urban District of Essex in 1894 whilst being on the eastern edge of Hackney Marshes, one of the largest open spaces in London.
1300 damaged houses from Zeppelin raids in WW.1. Rapid development in the 1920s of textiles and the Thermos factory (thermos flasks) Figures re.bomb impact in WW.2 are difficult but an inkling is given by the fact that Leyton was second in terms of the number of bombings and casualties in East London, the most bombed area of the UK and had 57 consecutive nights of bombing in late 1940/early41.
Post war decline has been partially reversed in the last 2 decades by considerable regeneration particularly by the London Olympic Games 2012.

Leyton has one of the lowest percentages of indigenous white British population in the U.K. The unaffordable house prices in neighbouring boroughs has meant since 2012 Leyton has been one of the fastest rising house price areas in London. Leyton Fire Station was the site of the Blackwall Fire Station in ITV’s “London’s Burning” 1988-02.

Leyton Breweries: Brodie’s Brewery (2008), East London Brewing Co. (b..2011), Nirvana Brewery (b.2011), Magic Spells (b.2017), Gravity Well Brewing Company (b.2018).

Locally born famous include, Harry Beck (designer of the London Underground Map), Alfred Hitchcock (Film Director), David Bailey (Photography), Derek Jacobi (Actor), Bobby Crush (Pianist), David Beckham (Husband) and from nearby Whipps Cross, Graham Gooch (Cricket) and from Whitechapel, Damon Albarn (Blur).

The second oldest surviving club in London since 1881 (Fulham b.1879). Founded as Glyn Cricket Club, playing as the Orient since 1888. Elected to the Football League in 1907 as Clapton Orient who were relegated from the second division in 1929, adopted the name Leyton Orient after WW2. They have played at Brisbane Road (now the Matchroom Stadium) since 1937 having moved from Clapton.

Players for both Town and The O's, Ron Foster (Town 1962-66:Orient 1959-61), Wayne Burnett (98-02:89-92), Tom Newey (05-09:03-05). And 4 current Orient players, Matt Harold (05:2017-), Joe Widdowson (09-10:2017-), James Alabi (15-16:2018-) and Craig Clay (14-16:2017-)

Exciting times, even more so on this day with the attendance of 93 fans from Sporting Club Eendracht Aalst. The Mighty Mariners Belgian association is a magnificent example of the shared values of Real Fans of Real Football. The attendance of the 93 would undoubtedly add to an already optimistic and buoyant B&W Army. Given the circumstances of the eagerly anticipated day ahead, it was doubtful if even the Rail Network could dampen the occasion................?

A pre-arranged early morning breakfast meeting with Ealing Mariners at The Parcel Yard, Kings Cross proved a most convivial start to the days proceedings before the foray into the East End.

The White Hart Bethnal Green, next door to its more infamous neighbour The Blind Beggar, proved an admiral choice of Chesterfield Logistics Officer, Gareth.

The Squire of Hasland provided a well balanced and erudite induction to debutant, Ealing Mariner Jessica.
Chairman of Islington Mariners(aka as Cleethorpes Promenade Mick), Blackheath Mariner Phil and Donny Paul, eagerly await The Tef’s report on ‘the facilities’.

Initially a little bashful, but soon TefMan found his stride and gave an enthusiastic account of the facilities rarely visited by anyone else...

....very quickly only Donny Paul demonstrated the desired level of patience and tenacity.

Gareth The Engine talked of some success in his early forays into estate management in North Wales. His appreciation of the advantages gained from close observation and of the inherent experience acquired through marriage, are not under-estimated.

The Squire discusses with Phil, sibling of The Engine and representative fo HM Govt, the fiscal effects of devolution on Estate Management in Wales.

A longer stay than anticipated, before the short tube ride to Leyton. In the rambunctious surrounds of the Leyton Technical Pub, Ealing Mariner Jessica stole a few quiet moments to reflect on proceedings.

On arrival at the Matchroom Stadium it was soon apparent that the experiences of poor organisation and the consequent difficulties of acquiring away tickets in the preceding week was repeated in the unnecessary huge queues outside. Such poor organisation resulted in many gaining entrance up to 15 minutes into the game. It should also be said, the stewards and police at the coal-face, were aware of the poor organisation and helped avoid a potentially fraught situation via their use of unfashionable common-sense attitudes.

Experienced and exasperated Derby Mariner Andy with marginally less experienced Ealing Mariner, in the queue at 14.56!
Grimsby Mariner Jacko in dream land. Derby Tim and Alford Rob maintain a more realistic outlook.
Inside Purley Mariner Tony, talked of the renewed vigour and enthusiasm of McMenemy Mike.
Brixton (nee Sunderland) Mariner Joe and Ealing Mariner Jessica recount escapades from a far off distant land.



           Steak & Kidney                  8/10    Good meat incl. proper bits of kidney. Good gravy.
            (Choice of 7)                                Shortcrust pastry but soggy —> unable to pick-up.
                                                                Quite hot.

                                                                Salt, pepper, red & brown sauce available

                                                                Bovril as ever a standard.


New signing Anthony Glennon was to start; on loan Billy Clarke was on the bench. The O’s started very much on the front foot, The Mighty Mariners looked resolute. Harry Davies went off injured after 10 minutes but to bring a player of Ohman’s ability at Division 4 level is a comfortable position to be in. The 4 centre Pollock, Ohman, Davies and Waterfall, is the strongest part of Town’s squad - which pairing is best is a matter of debate.

In all, a very characteristic Town performance. Glennon very promising, strongly resolute centre-back pairing of Pollock and Ohman, Hendrie up against the O’s best player stuck well to the task. It is difficult to criticise the work-rate of the mid-field but the craved for creativity was apparent again. In such circumstances converting the limited chances created is vital - the early signing of Clarke is indicative of an awareness of the situation...in Ollie we trust.

Clarke on as substitute produced a rare glimpse of the the type of finishing that has been lacking (immediate thoughts of a very similar goal by another on-loan striker, Dennis, on as substitute at Yeovil last season). With a third consecutive victory within touching distance, Clarke’s push in the penalty area in added time curtailed celebrations but probably produced a fair result.

A month ago a point offered before the game would have been enthusiastically taken, on this day there was disappointment when 3 points were not taken home.

Histon Mariners Man of the Match : JOINTLY, MATT POLLOCK & LUDVIG OHMAN

Afterwards a revisit to The Leyton Technical Pub provided a calmer environment for a quiet moment of reflection.

Ealing Mariner Jessica, reflects on a satisfactory debut.

A brief pause for sustenance en-route at the notoriously splendid Old Blue Last, continued the reflection on a satisfactory days campaigning.

The attendance of 6248 in an old school ground, 1278 members of the B&W Army - supplemented by 93 S.C.Aalst Mariners - sparked the Orient crowd and helped produce a throwback atmosphere, reminiscent of years gone by. A mixing of supporters in the Leyton Technical Pub, poor ground administration, decent catering, poor refereeing, half-decent game and hope continuing to spring eternal was a reminder of the essential elements of The Campaign For Real Football by Real Football People.
Orient supporters applauded the B&W Army at the end of the game and in the media afterwards for the evident passion displayed.

Follow The Yellowbrick Road.

P.S. Rail Network failed to detrimentally affect the days proceedings!

17.01.20 Ian Holloway Evening at McMenemys

An extra day in the home of The Mighty Mariners was eagerly anticipated. Hopefully the level of anticipation was not excessive, false dawns are not unfamiliar. However meeting up with Preston (nee Hebden Bridge) Mariner Carl, at Doncaster substantiated the mood of optimism. The transformation over the previous 17 days has been little short of miraculous. In an age were superlatives are used so excessively it becomes difficult to portray a truly significant event/individual. The arrival of Ian Holloway has had such a hugely positive effect, the most commonly heard comment is simply “I can’t believe it”.

At Leyton Orient Purley Mariner Tony, in a similar state of disbelief had even commented on the increased optimism of McMenemy Mike and in living proof Mike was on hand to prove the point.

A truly rapturous Mike awaiting IH.

Accompanied by Anthony Limbrick (“only called Tony by Mum”) and Ben Davies, Ollie simply raised the bar further by moulding the audience in his hand at will. The Histon Mariner Campaign for Real Football is given credence by observing the effect on Real Football People of A Real Football Manager talking about hopes and aims in an optimistic but realistic manner imbued with standards, decency and common sense. The spirit of Mr. Shankly is alive and well at Blundell Park.

Ray The Fish is captivated by the Spirit of Shankly.

Youth protege of The Fish, The Fringe, was unable to attend (by choice) because of an event organised by Cupid. It is to be hoped his fringe did not get in the way and that Georgia proved as inspirational as Ollie.

Anthony Limbrick (surprised by the choice of The Fringe), The Fish and Vicky.
Vicky, standing in for The Fringe, with Ben Davies and the Fish.

In all, a very entertaining evening that nudged optimism a notch further up the greasy ladder - a perfect precursor to the main event next day against The Grecians.

18.01.20 GTFC O v 1 Exeter City

GTFC Ticket
GTFC Ticket

A much more leisurely pre-match routine with no travelling involved. The Kingsway’s full-English (carnivore version), glorious weather and a leisurely but thorough pre-match routine with an indulgence in further refreshment.

The sun always shines at Cleethorpes.
Willys and The Smugglers resplendent in the sunshine.
The sun shines on the righteous.

In The Mariners Trust Bar beforehand the astonishing effects of ‘the Ollie Whirlwind’ was the topic of conversation amongst B&W regulars. Trust stalwarts Terry Rudarm, Immingham Mariner Bill and on day release Christopher Parker Esq. were of one voice on ‘The Whirlwinds’ impact.

Gareth the Engine likewise, but amidst the euphoria, had to take time to placate a distraught Grace. The absence of Aunt Charlotte had obviously caused emotional turmoil The very difficult task of explaining to one so young why anyone would actually chose to accompany CJ to Eastleigh in order to watch the Spireites, was manfully taken on by The Engine. It was thought Grace took on board the explanation given but still doubted the reasoning behind her aunt’s decision making process.

Without doubt evident signs of IH’s influence. Small tweaks are creating a more positive approach - McKeown releasing the ball quicker and even throwing the ball out and not consistently the long punt forward, players staying out wide and looking to get crosses in, and someone staying up to occupy opposing defenders when Town are defending corners. The early opening exchanges were even but evolved into The Mighty Mariners dominating possession for most of the first half. With chances at both ends, both keepers earned their wage packet.

Ohman and Man Mountain Pollock looked composed and comfortable together.
                                   “Six foot two, eyes of blue,
                                    Big Matt Pollocks after you”
Clifton and Whitehouse had their best game for some time with the laters bullet crashing off the post, being the closest of several chances.
When Whitehouse’s effort smashed the post the thought occurred that this was not to be Towns day...
The first part of the second half continued in the same vein. Billy Clarke improved further on the previous weeks cameo and was desperately unfortunate to see the opposing keeper produce a wonder save from his close range header.
A slip from Clifton saw The Grecians gain possession and produce the clinical finish that decides such games.
Substitutions appeared initially to disrupt cohesion and didn’t work entirely as planned (acknowledged by Ollie as he did last week - early days!) But even then, Tilley was denied a reasonable penalty shout and Hanson had an effort cleared off the line before Town got back on the front foot when they were essentially restricted to long range efforts notably from Clarke and particularly Cliftons overhead kick probably the highlight.

The Grecians are pushing for automatic promotion and as one would expect managed the last part of the game to take all three points.

Histon Mariners Man of the Match : BILLY CLARKE (just from Matt Pollock)

There was little time for post-analysis but general opinion reiterated Grecian Manager Matt Taylor’s view, that sometimes you win when it’s not really deserved and equally sometimes you loose when it is not deserved!

At The Smugglers, Simon shared the love with Promotion Plaice.

After a reviving visit to the No.2 Bar, a rail journey home as planned is always a satisfactory end to another adventure. However on this particular journey Histon Mariners were joined from Grimsby Town for the journey south to Peterborough by old (very old) and new Grecian associates. Exchanging the usual nonsensical bleatings, memories and grumbles are the foodstuff of Real Football People.
The Histon Mariners have always appreciated the bonhomie of the renowned Centre Spot at St. James Park, even when a bare-chested Hollywood fronts the hospitality. With The Grecians flirting with promotion this season it would be disingenuous to hope for a return visit there next season but there would be much eager anticipation to reacquaint in 2021-22 after Towns promotion!

A thankfully clothed Hollywood makes a valid point to an enthralled Sheffield Grecian, Mark.
Ben gives Lyme Regis Grecian Jimbo food for thought.

In all, a terrific 2 day mission on behalf of The Campaign. And though the result was not what was desired, there were significant positives to be taken.

See : www.gameofthepeople.com

“Opium for the masses - the cost of premier addiction.”
“Time for football to look after its own.”

We’re on the march with Ollie’s Army.


25.01.20 Crawley Town 3 v 2 GTFC

Crawley Town v GTFC Ticket
Crawley Town v GTFC Ticket

Though a Roman ironwork centre, the name Crawley has Saxon roots when it was known as ‘Crow’s Leah’ = a crow infested clearing!
A market town on the London-Brighton route. The coming of Gatwick Airport in the 1940’s was the significant change in fortune. A designated New Town in 1946, it now has a population of 197,000.

People born in Crawley include Marvin Hinton (Football), Alan Minter and son Ross (Boxing) and Romesh Ranganathan (Comedian - sometimes).
John Haig (Acid Bath Murderer) operated around Crawley. Gareth Southgate went to school in Crawley. The Cure were formed in Crawley but the only permanent member, Robert Smith was born in Blackpool (IH connection !)

There are no breweries operating in Crawley (?) There are several in Horsham, 8 miles away.

Crawley Town F.C. b.1896 as Crawley F.C. Reformed 1958 with Town added to its name. The Red Devil’s turned fully professional as recently as 2005.

However their recent story has an all too familiar ring. Threatened with administration in the late 1990’s, their Town Field Ground was sold to developers. The new Broadfield Stadium is owned by the Borough Council. Some creative administration enabled the club to survive. The financial affairs of the club were conducted by undischarged bankrupt Chas Majeed and his brother Azwar, who was subsequently jailed for tax-fraud.

Whilst such off-field shenanigans were being conducted, Steve Evans was appointed manager in 2007(?) Promotion to Division 4, 2010-11. Promotion to Division 3, 2011-12 followed. F.A.Cup income particularly from a televised visit to Old Trafford was obviously of great significance. However relegation to Division 4, in 2015 has been their level since.

Players for both The Mariners and The Red Devil’s include, Isaiah Rankin (Town 2004: Crawley 08-09), Thomas Pinault (04-05:07-10), Charles Ademeno (10-11:09-10), Scott Neilson (2012, 13-14:10-12), Richard Brodie (2013:10-13), Ollie Palmer (2015:2018-)

With Kings Cross closed and lines disrupted up to Sheffield, there was certainly an added potential for a new episode of ‘rail-worries’ for the south travelling legions of the B&W Army.
However ‘plain sailing’ ensured docking as planned.
Leaving the station presents Crawley as it is perceived - a 60/70’s New Town which has seen better days. The walk through a struggling shopping development would be slightly depressing if it were not known that like so many southern post-war New Town developments, Crawley hides ‘an old town.’

The White Hart is an oasis that thankfully does not fit in with the prevailing perception of Crawley New Town and provides a most suitable venue for an aperitif and recuperation.

The walk to the taxi rank was probably between 100-120 yards. Such an onerous journey would have been exhausting were it not for a pause to recover from such exertions, at the Brewery Shades.

The multi-purpose Council owned Broadfield Stadium, has carried its sponsors name, The Peoples Pension Stadium, since 2018 - a name which appeared totally appropriate in view of the days visitors!

Mr.P outlines his ‘unique!’ take on proceedings. Stuart has heard it all before. Tour Operative, Dave, wishes he was still on tour.......
....Dave R. dreams of his next tour. Hornblower relives 28 Nov. 1956 when on leave, he docked at Wembley to watch England 3 v 0 Yugoslavia.
After Mr.P departed for his radio commitments, Hornblower and Dave tried to come to terms with the ramblings of the media star.
“Come On Eileen” expressed concern over the absence of Del Boy Pete. Thankfully Paul reported a mild case of ‘Kneemonia’.
Proof that the B&W Army is not totally aged and decrepit.
- A ‘voluntarily dry’ Muswell Hill Mariner Scott, introduces fellow exile, Capital Mariner (formerly Boston) Doug to The Histon Mariners.
- Exile Mariners, Purley and Addlestone, bridge the age gap.



Only in the south would the B&W Army confront a menu at an away match that offered no pies and a daily special of ‘Tuna, Mayo and Cucumber Baguette!’

Therefore 0/10!

However an alternative food offering was pointed out on the other side of the ground. Queuing from 14.54, the designated seat was reached at 15.11! The expedition was not one marked with great success.

                          Cornish (Devon) Pasty                  3.5/10     Shortcrust pastry. OK.
                               (1 of 3 choices)                                       Meat and veg. content O.K
                                                                                               Very hot.

                                                     No sauces. No salt. No pepper.

                                                     Standard but expensive Bovril.


Deja vu - an all too familiar scenario. Town were probably the better team in the first half. Despite conceding against the run of play, Town fought back to, go in at the break 2v1 up. Vernam had been lively, creating Whitehouse’s goal and also forcing a good save from The Red Devil keeper. Whitehouse who also laid on Hanson’s goal was The Mariners standout player in the first half.
The Mighty Mariners could easily have gone in with a greater lead but....deja vu!
The inevitable Crawley resurgence in the second half saw Town defend deeply (probably too deep) and concede 2 goals whilst failing to capitalise in the opposing area.
A lack of pace at the back was exposed, it will a decision for IH to make for the next fixture given that Waterfall has served his suspension.

The Ollie whirlwind continues unabated but in the uncompromising world of reality, results are of the essence. Two games in hand are only a cushion if they yield points. The first of those two games is next.

Histon Mariners Man of the Match : ELLIOTT WHITEHOUSE

Despite the potential for a serious episode of ‘rail-worries’ the return trip to Cambridge ran perfectly to plan - other members of the B&W Army, it later transpired, were not so lucky!!


28.01.20 GTFC 3 v 1 Stevenage

01.02.20 GTFC 2 v 2 Forest Green Rover

08.02.20 Bradford City 1 v 1 GTFC

Bradford City v GTFC Ticket
Bradford City v GTFC Ticket

An early Saxon settlement was wiped out by the Norman’s. Thereupon Bradford developed as a small market town that sided with the victorious Lancastrians in The Wars of the Roses!
Bradford is now the 7th most populous city in England with a population of 530,000+ and the 3rd in Yorkshire, behind Leeds and Sheffield.

‘The Bradford Pals’ were 3 battalions of pals taken over by Kitcheners Army in WW1. Pals battalions were locally raised men who were promised they would be allowed to serve together. On 1st July 1916 in the first hour of The Battle Of The Somme, of the 1394 men raised in Bradford and District, 1060 were killed. Such slaughter of whole communities persuaded a review of the practise.

The more familiar Bradford of today was born in the early 19th century on the back of wool spinning and cloth weaving.
The egg and butter stall that began in 1899 evolved into Morrison Supermarket which now employs in excess of 105,000 people.

Bradford Breweries: Salamander Brewing Co. (b.1999), Eyes Brewing Co. (b.2018) and at Shipley 3.3 miles away, Saltaire Brewery (b.2006)

Notable births in Bradford include David and son Johnny Bairstow (Cricket), David Hockney (Painter), Timothy West (Actor), Kiki Dee (Elton’s Duet Partner), Austin Mitchell (Great Grimsby MP 1977-2017), Rodney Bewes (‘Bob Ferris’ mate of ‘Terry Collier’), Gareth Gates (Pop Idol Winner), Alister Campbell (Remoaning Burnley supporter), Harry Corbett (Sooty lived on his right hand) and James Hanson (Mariner).

The Bantams were founded in 1903 and were elected straight into the 2nd division. F.A.Cup Winners 1910-11 (beat Newcastle 1v0 after a replay). Top division for 2 seasons as recently as 1999-2001

11th May 1985 Bradford were presented with the 3rd Division Championship trophy before their game against Lincoln City. 40 minutes into the game a small fire was spotted in the Archibald Leitch designed wooden roofed main stand. Within 5 minutes the fire engulfed the stand killing 56 people and injuring 256. Blundell Park now has the only surviving wooden stand in the EFL.
N.B. Leitch designed or part designed over 20 league stadiums in the U.K. Post Taylor report many were destroyed - Goodson Park probably the best surviving example.

Bradford City play in the same colours as Hogwarts School.

Players appearing for both The Mariners and The Bantams include, Ron Habertson (54-55:50-54), Neil Woods (90-98:89-90), Aidan Davison (97-99 and 03-04:97 and 99-03), Paul Bolland (05-09:97-99), Barry Conlon (09-10:07-09), Alan Connell (10-11:12-14), Jamie Devitt (10 and 13: 19-), Ross Hannah (12-16:11-13), James Hanson (2019-:09-17) and Billy Clarke (20-:14-17 and 19).
Several Mariners also appeared for the other former league side in the city, Bradford Park Avenue. Bobby Ham ( Mariners 1964: Brad.PA 1961-63 and 64-68 but also Brad.City 68-70 and 73-75), Keith Cockburn (68 and 70:68-69) and Danny Boshell (06-10:16-19)

The reassuring continuity of match day routines, of vignettes that evoke familiarity and belonging are indispensable elements of Real Football Fans at Real Football occasions. The onslaught of modernity that has permeated the upper echelons of our national game has encouraged the dipping in and out of staged productions which are visited by many for“ the experience. ”Such a depiction is not part of The B&W Army experience when travelling around England on behalf of The Mighty Mariners.

‘Rail Worries’ are an occasional travelling companion that can add to the warm glow of familiarity. But it is the vitally adhered-to tried and trusted match-day routines, with the like-minded, that creates the comforting and familiar sense of belonging.
Arrival at a windswept Bradford meant getting straight into ‘the match day routine’. Firstly, the inimitable directions of a higher authority, that rarely facilitate a smooth execution of manoeuvres, would be dutifully observed. Secondly, a lower authority would determine a most congenial rendezvous for refreshment, on this occasion the excellent City Vaults. Thirdly and equally predictable, The Engine’s desire to explore further and discover pastures new would result in a more substantial briefing, on this occasion The Exchange Craft Beer House. At such a venue The Engines exploration of the diverse menu is as predictable as it is admirable - total dedication to the cause.

The Engine substantiates his spirit of adventure to a sympathetic listener...
The Engine attempts to dispel fears about Bake-Off Supremo Barbara being asked to bake her own birthday cake by the Akrill Sisters
The Squire remained unconvinced, as the natural order of things appeared to be restored !
Paul, one of Three Wise Men(?) not quite as enthralled as some!
TefMan consulted notes as a precursor to the debate re. The Engines alternative venues.

The ensuing debate about continuing prematch preparations elsewhere raised serious doubts about the validity of ‘The Louth Agreement’. Doncaster (nee Louth) Mariner Paul, pronounced on that agreement and as a consequence staying-put surprisingly overruled views from above!

‘Voices of Experience’ attempt to contain their excitement, as 15.00 hours approaches.

A magnificent 2545 travelling Mariners, was to a large extent recognition of the belief in the Holloway effect.

The Fish and Coleen without The Fringe.
McMenemy Mike sustaining his enthusiasm.



One point of purchase made for huge chaotic queues!!!

                                  Steak Pie                       7/10        Good meat and gravy.
                                (Choice of 4)                                   Very hot. Flaky pastry.

                                                                                        No salt, pepper or condiments

                                                                                        Tea, very weak, possibly an old bag


Holloway’s team is evolving bit by bit. Thankfully having been around league football since 1980 some ‘old school attitudes’ prevail. Constantly changing a team because of a need to be able to play different systems depending in the opposition rather than concentrating on our own attributes, is unfashionable. Ollie is thankfully unfashionable?
Derogatory remarks about playing long-balls are fashionable, only a ‘tippy-tappy’ style is credible especially when statistical analysis reveals a commendable ‘748’ passes were successfully completed almost regardless of the result - yet the most successful team currently in world football, Liverpool, are great exponents of both styles...when necessary.
Ollie’s football philosophy appears balanced, pragmatic and well tested - an approach based on utility and experience rather than principals learnt in a classroom, sometimes coupled with no practical experience.

At Valley Parade the only change was Waterfall for Ohman - continuity appears a central plank of the Holloway way. An even first half with Bradford upping their game following the return for a third spell of manager Stuart McCall. But more importantly evidence of changed ways for Town - player(s) left up for opposition corners, McKeown releasing the ball quicker and sometimes by rolling it out, more width and most importantly a display of confidence that encourages more guile and attacking play. No one has benefitted more than Vernam who has recently been a revelation. Likewise Whitehouse has hit his best form since joining Town. The Burnley boys, Glennon and Benson have obvious ability that has instantly blended in. Ollie’s first signing, Clarke, was met with a degree of cynicism but has now been universally acclaimed and engendered trust in future dealings.

The tempo of the second half rose and produced a game befitting of the setting. With a gate of 17,688 including 2545 Mariners, it was difficult to conceive a greater advert for a Division 4 fixture.
The left-side combination of Glennon and Vernam constantly troubled The Bantams. Clarke and Hanson’s renewed partnership will produce the long desired goals. Town have a choice of centre back pairings that must be the envy of many sides in the division. On this occasion the pairing of Waterfall and Pollock were never seriously troubled.
The introduction of new signing Elliot Grandin as substitute, bodes well for the future, he looked very comfortable on the ball.

The Bantams scored a much disputed opener 10 minutes from time. Such a goal would invariably knock the stuffing out of most teams. Accepting the rough with the smooth is preferable to the current chaos of VAR, which further detracts from the Premier Pantomime.
Towns response to force an added time equaliser, crashed in by Hendrie following Vernam’s darting run into the box was a further sign of the work in progress. Yet there was still time for a double near miss by Hanson that might well have been a justifiable penalty claim. However a draw would arguably have been taken beforehand and was probably a fair result.

Histon Mariners Man of the Match : ELLIOT WHITEHOUSE

Prior to journeys home, The Engine approached a new audience to explain the dilemmas of ‘Cake-Gate’ - apparently uninterested, ‘some seeds fall on stoney ground’.

A well supported return to The Exchange, was preceded by conflicting approaches to orienteering. On this occasion The Squires predictably inimitable approach (or non-approach) was underpinned by the equally predictable non-answering TefMan. The usual post-match analysis has become unerringly characterised by a common thread of optimism. Last minute preparations for the journey south necessitated a final cup tea taken at The Bank.

At the station Barton Mariners - Kieron, Andy T., Alan and Chairman Daryl - reiterate the prevailing gratitude throughout The B&W Army to Anthony Limbrick for his contribution to Towns revival.

Exiles invariably converge on trains, sometimes with opposing fans. On this occasion Hertford (nee Alford) Mariner, Rob and Muswell Hill Mariner, Scott analyse the day with Histon Mariners - again levels of optimism prevailed.

The journey south proceeded as planned - luckily only a few hours before significant national disruption caused by Storm Ciara.

We’re On The March With Ollie’s Army.


11.02.20 Colchester United 2 v 3 GTFC

Colchester United v GTFC Ticket
Colchester United v GTFC Ticket

An earthquake in Colchester on 22nd April 1884 is known as The Great English Earthquake.  The most destructive in 400 years, it measured 4.7 on the Richter Scale and was felt in France and Belgium.
Colchester claims to be the epicentre of English Nursery Rhymes with claims to be the source of three: 
  - Old King Cole: unlikely and academically disputed.
  - Humpty Dumpty: probably, originated during the 11 week Roundhead Siege of Colchester.
  - Twinkle, Twinkle: written by Colchie resident of the Dutch Quarter, Jane Taylor in 1806.

Notable Colchies, Charles Harrod (founder of a well known shop), Neil Foster (Cricket), 2 ‘inventors’, William Gilbert (first to recognise magnetism and use the term electricity in the 16th century) and fellow ‘inventor’ Ken Aston (referee who invented both red and yellow cards, inspired after being stuck at traffic lights)

Colchester Breweries (within 10 miles) Harwich Town Brewery (b.2007), Red Fox Brewery (b.2008),the excellent Colchester Brewery (b.2011) and Three Wise Monkeys (b.2014).

Players for both The Mariners and The U’s, a brace of keepers, Barney Bircham (Town 1949-50: U’s 1950-51), Aiden Davidson (97-98 and 03-04:04-08), Mike Edwards (03-04:03), notorious Frog Thomas Pinault (04-05:99-04), Scott Vernon (16-18:06-10), Brendon Comley (16-17:17-) and Harry Pell (14:18-)

Despite potential ‘Rail-worries’ on the horizon the next chapter was embarked on with a degree of optimism on a bright, sunny but ‘slightly chilly day’. The 61 mile train journey out, would take a speedy 133 minutes (2.2 mins/mile). The return, assuming the station was reached (last train 22.33) would take 194 minutes (3.2 mins/mile)!
However all appeared good after arriving to revisit the splendid Victoria Inn, a comfortable no-nonsense old school hostelry supplied by the excellent Colchester Brewery and frequented by residents, office-workers and Real Football Fans.

The Histon Mariners were delighted to exchange pleasantries and talk absolute bollocks with The Victoria Inn U’s. An uplifting exchange of interesting and not so interesting stories, reminisces and the shared concern of the sustainability of Real Football and Real Football Fans, all with great humour.

Bob, Dominic, Richard and Victorian Inn ‘Medical Officer’ Todd, welcome The Histon Mariners.

The long trek out of Colchester to the fairly soulless Colchester Community Stadium renamed The JobServe Community Stadium was enlivened by the meeting up with stalwarts of the B&W Army.

Gerry without a dead beaver on his head, presented a report from a distant ski slope about a slightly upbeat Steve!
A brace of respectful Roberts listen intently to Tales From The Manor, whilst.......
..... a Salty Old Sea Dog contemplates “ice cold nights in the North Atlantic, in those far off distant days...”
Meanwhile a third Roberts, answered the call of the belly rumbles.
TefMan cannot resist - Forest Gate Mariner Rob tried to assimilate the levels of consumption.



                             Steak and Ale.                  7/10        Good meat & gravy and temperature.
                              (Choice of 5)                                   Pastry dried out.

                                                                                      Salt, Pepper and Red Sauce available
                                                                                      but no Brown Sauce!

                                                                                      Standard Bovril ( key=not to fill
                                                                                      the omnipresent oversize vases!)


Having proclaimed Ollie’s old school notion of consistency of selection, on this occasion 5 changes were made. IH raised the matter of his need to get new signings up to speed, looking at players who he had not yet seen play and taking into account forthcoming fixtures. Hewitt, Ohman, Garmston, Tilley and Green replaced Hendrie, Pollock, Clifton, Hanson and Clarke. Inevitably doubts were raised, more so with the keyboard warriors than attendees!
Lively opening exchanges confirmed the prevailing optimism - Ollie’s plan looked promising. Thus when The U’s took a 17th minute lead disappointment rather than a feeling of inevitability was the predominant attitude. It only took 4 minutes for the rejuvenated Charles Vernam to deservedly equalise.
Garmston certainly added pace. Hewitt looked comfortable and the reputation of the Burnley Boys - Glennon and Benson - continues to raise questions as to how long Town can keep them beyond the end of the season. Further disappointment just before half-time saw a defensive lapse give The U’s a 2 v 1 half-time lead.

It seems crass to bemoan Towns fortune with regards match officials but the potential eye injury on Vernam caused by an indiscriminate arm/elbow on the stroke of half-time, not being recognised by officialdom, painted an adequate picture.

The substitute bench is often a reflection of the strength of a squad, on this day Russell, Hendrie, Pollock, Grandin, Wright, Hanson, and Clarke spoke volumes. The early utilisation of Hanson & Clarke for Garmston & Green proved a point and indicated tactical changes. Glennon refocused as a conventional left-back was outstanding, Waterfall a leader in all but name, Benson pulled the strings and Whitehouse is effectively a new signing.

The equalising goal, after a build-up of approx.10 passes involving most of the team ended with a quality finish 10-12 yards out on the left by Vernam, was fully deserved. It would not be stretching a point to suggest such a goal would have been highly unlikely 42 days ago.
Within 3 minutes Vernam produced what will probably be the Goal The Season. A 75 yard solo run beating 4 players and riding an attempted foul before scoring. A new double barrelled name player had emerged Charles Vernam-Again!

The final 20 minutes saw a resolute Town limit The U’s to speculative shots and a couple of half chances. McKeown raced from his line once to foil the one break through.
Three deserved points with realistically half a dozen MOM. Benson in particular stood out and promises so much.

Histon Mariners Man of the Match : CHARLES VERNAM - AGAIN

A great night for The Mariners. Anthony Limbrick led the players over to the celebrating B&W Army. The whole squad looked conspicuously together - no team has ever been successful with a fractious dressing room and as the squad grows in belief and confidence, further progression is a realistic expectation.

The B&W Army was understandably very buyout and whilst such enthusiasm helped ignore the cold, some ‘experienced’ campaigners maintained a well insulated and level head.

Chm.Terry Hall, (GTFC Supporters Travel Club) draws on all his experience to provide some composure.

The danger of missing trains was alleviated with all due gratitude to The Squires Spirit of ‘Noblesse Obligee’ and a ride in one of his carriages to the station Rail Network facilitated the tedious (and very cold) journey home according to plan, however the sweet taste of the performance (as much as the points) overrode all other considerations. Back in Cambridge at 0110 hours.

The doubting keyboard warriors at 19.45 did not appear so vociferous at 21.30!!!

“Ice-Creams all round (even in such cold weather)


18.02.20 GTFC 2 v 1 Morecambe

22.02.20 Swindon Town 3 v 1 GTFC

Swindon Town v GTFC Ticket
Swindon Town v GTFC Ticket

Originally the site of a Saxon swine(pig) hill.
Now the home of the Bodleian Library book depository, the home of English Heritage National Monument Record Office, the headquarters of the National Trust and the Nationwide Building Society.

Famous Swindonians include Diana Doors and Billie Piper (‘Actresses’), Dean Ashton (Football), Johnny Francombe (Jockey) and XTC (Post punk band).

Breweries in Swindon: Arkells Brewery (b.1843) and Hop Kettle Brewing Co. (b.2008).

The Robins won the League Cup in 1969 but were forbidden to compete in the Inter-Cities Fair Cup (UEFA Cup) by the F.A. because they were a third division team! To compensate the F.A. organised a two-legged final against the Italian League Cup Winners, A.S. Roma, which Swindon won 5 v 2 on aggregate. The popularity encouraged the inaugural Anglo-Italian Cup the following season. Six clubs from England and six Italian clubs were organised into 3 groups, with the best from each country in a final. Swindon beat Napoli 3 v 0 in the final - the result standing even though the game was abandoned after 79 minutes due to crowd disturbances.
The Robins have had 5 seasons in Division 1 - 1994/95 and 1996/00 essentially under John Gorman (who was Glenn Hoddle’s No.2, and took over when he left) and secondly Steve McMahon.

Players for both The Mariners and The Robins, Ralph Hunt (Town 1956-61:Swindon 61-62), Freddie Jones (61-63:60-61), Matt Heywood (08-10:00-05), Lee Peacock (09-10:05-10), Alan Connell (10-11 and 14:13-14), Andy Monkhouse (15-16:06-07), Kayden Jackson (16-17:13-14), Daillang Jaiyesimi (17-18:20-) and Wes Thomas (18-19:15-16)

Slight deviations from well established routines can sometimes strike fear into those prone to superstitious considerations. However for some a variation of routine could induce a positive change of fortune......! On this occasion a link-up was organised whereby The Histon Mariners would support the Windsor Mariners Youth Programme after a previous successful joint-mission to Stag Meadow to watch The Royalists v Wootton Bassett but the link-up necessitated a switch in travel routine from train to car....!

Regular rendezvous point the excellent ‘Glue Pot’ (favourite of Doncaster Mariners - hic ! ), had become part of an established routine - since adopted, Town had not lost at the County Ground.
Such reassurance, after the changed travel routine, had added comfort for the superstitious because the post-code for The Glue Pot read SN1 5BP
                        i.e. Swindon1 5BlundellPark .......... an encouraging sign?

With such rational and logical aforethoughts the day would obviously progress well..... ..... But all did not proceed exactly as anticipated. Late logistical changes resulted in the routine to SN1 5BP being altered to accommodate different hostelries....a worrying sign?

The Chesterfield Engine, always enthusiastic in a railway centre like Swindon, arranged refuelling and maintenance at Hop Kettle’s, Tap & Brew.

Glue Pot LegEnd Paul, acknowledged his transfer of loyalties. Bristol Mariner Ferrari Phil (nee Louth) acknowledged Pauls faux pas.
Locals were in awe and fully appreciative of The Squire taking time to mingle. Locals Steve & Debbie appeared totally enthralled.
Bar-staff dealt with the paparazzi in an attempt to divert attention from The Squires attendance.

The Histon Mariners fully appreciate efforts to engage younger elements in the realism of all sports. The ever increasing influence of the media circus in projecting sport elitism and the inculcating of a need to associate with those elite icons, is proving increasingly detrimental to grass-root sport. In football, the tourist with a 2-team scarf in one of the major premier theatres, posing for Sky cameras, is a common occurrence.
The lower in any sporting pyramid the greater the struggle to maintain continuity of existence. Experience of playing the sport and connecting with those who succeed is more and more unusual. An inability to afford attending elite sporting occasions is increasingly the norm. Experiencing the magic and unique atmosphere of such occasions, has certainly changed - a growing proportion would say, for the worse!

Windsor Mariners Youth Programme, like many others, attempts to retain a degree of realism.

Mattie and Harry meet up with the Windsor Mariners for pre-match preparations.
Roy Cropper demonstrates the the pre-match ‘programme ritual’.

587 attendees of the B&W Army was a commendable effort given the 390 mile round trip from Blundell and the forecast re. Ciara’s brother, Storm Dennis.

Enthusiasm levels amongst the troops knew no bounds. Media personality Mr.P. proved the point.
Windsor Colts could not believe their luck. Veteran Mariner Pete had recovered sufficiently from a severe bout of Kneemonia to welcome them aboard.

Ever willing to assist and contribute to all elements of research, The Squire provided pre-match sustenance for TefMan and former Glue Pot regular, Paul. The weighty contributions from such seasoned campaigners can never be taken lightly and are always given due deference.



                             Steak and Ale.                  6/10        Flakey pastry - very dry and difficult
                              (Choice of 4)                                   to handle.
                                                                                     Meat & gravy O.K. Fairly hot.

                                                                                      Salt & Pepper, full sauce range available

                                                                                      Bovril seemingly better than usual?


Playing the top side, who outplayed Town at Blundell in the dying days of MJ’s tenure, and on this occasion in very windy conditions - obviously the same for both sides - was never likely to be an easy task. Consistency of selection was the order of the day, a welcome feature of the Holloway era.
A fairly even first half, in which The Robins hit the woodwork twice, both occasions being from open play rather than sustained pressure. Chances for Town were expected to be sparse, clinical finishing was therefore essential. The ball flying across an open goal from Vernam’s cross was perhaps a sign....
An end to end first half produced a 0 v 0 score-line at half-time. No particularly outstanding Mariner - generally an above average (just) team performance - Clarke unsurprisingly looked most capable of creating a decisive moment. Whilst the wind was a key element, it’s swirling nature meant its unpredictability could not easily be catered for.

And unpredictability proved the order of the day. 12 minutes into the second half Town were 0 v 3 down, due more to poor defending rather than Swindon superiority. The swirling wind had transformed into a whirlwind.
When Hanson pulled one back within 2 minutes, hopes of a remarkable fight back were aired but the vague hope proved more of a fantasy.

A reshuffle and change of formation ensured Town were not overrun. A spirited rather than expectant final third was testament to IH’s tactical acumen and team spirit. Whilst the opposing manager would have been uncomfortable during the final third, there will be no ice-creams on order this week.

Histon Mariners Man of the Match : difficult but, LUKE WATERFALL

Match-day routines are established over time via well trodden paths by battle hardened troops. Deviations from routines are not welcomed but minor changes are inevitable but still approached with extreme caution. Superstitions can work both ways. If a deviation is followed by a positive result, the change is immediately adopted as regular routine. A negative result raises the spectre of the need to avoid. The match against The Robbins witnessed some digression from pre-match routines. Given the result it became critical to quickly revert back to regular post-match routines.
Down but certainly not out, a full and thorough post-match analysis was convened at the very accommodating, Arkell’s owned ‘The Great Western’.

Derby, Chesterfield, Doncaster, Windsor and Histon Mariners agreed, ‘The Project’ is still very much progressing in the right direction. Forthcoming manoeuvres at Plymouth (again) and Scunthorpe were eagerly anticipated and with considerable optimism.... it was a sign!

Leave the ice-creams in the freezer........for now.


25.02.20 GTFC 4 v 2 Newport County

29.02.20 GTFC 0 v 3 Northampton Town

03.03.20 Plymouth Argle 3 v 0 GTFC

Plymouth Argle v GTFC Ticket
Plymouth Argle v GTFC Ticket

The return to Plymouth after the rather damp Nov. 2nd escapade was unsurprisingly forecast to again be plagued by persistent rain. Rain has been a constant feature of trips to South Devon both in a former life when touring Devon as ‘a cricketer’ and on several trips with the B&W Army.

A 540 mile round trip with ‘rail worries’ an ever present concern, threatened rain, temperatures close to freezing and automatic promotion chasing opposition on the horizon one could reasonably question, ‘Why ?’ Habit, nothing else in ones life and madness are often part of answers given by the ‘unknowing’, who travel to see results and be associated with success. But for those in the know, as Real Football Fans, such adventures hold out the possibility of creating memories. More importantly, meeting up with regular ‘fellow travellers’, the likelihood of new acquaintances both Mariners and Pilgrims are all elements contributing to a sense of belonging to a familiarity whilst relishing the potential of the unknown. These facets, recognisable to Real Football Fans, are the heart and soul of involvement. These facets indicate a different approach and expectation to the more orchestrated and commercialised familiarity of ‘the premiership theatre’ experience.
There is also a football element - a work in progress, the roll-a-coaster of emotions, the belief (or hope) of advancement against all the odds, driven by hard toil, luck, perseverance and an element of cleverness as opposed to simply buying good fortune.

See : www.gameofthepeople.com

An excellent journey - Great Western Rail successfully embrace elements of a by-gone era that adds value to the experience of modern travel. Almost worryingly the weather actually improved as Plymouth approached.....

Arrival in sunshine!
Billet easily found and most welcoming.

All appeared to be going well but experience warns never assume and caution should be the order of the day. It is a well accepted fact that something (usually rather than someone) will disprove the theory that ‘all will go swimmingly well’...

The Fisherman’s Arms provided for a most welcome aperitif.

More substantial refreshment was taken in the typically evocative old port hostelry, The Dolphin Hotel, where local artist Beryl Cook had been a regular for many years.

Even more atmospheric, oozing charm and history was the well worth a visit Minerva Inn. Apparently H.Q. for notorious Press Gang activities and according to Phylis - regular for over half a century - the Inn of choice for local resident Sir Francis Drake, though she was keen to emphasise, she had never enjoyed the pleasure of his company!

The Minerva was inevitably welcoming of the B&W Army.
The black & white strippers were beyond the call of duty.

Finding The Minerva added to a very satisfactory day and would often have induced a longer stay. Indeed experience should have ensured that on finding a gem, one should stick with it. But the much acclaimed Artillery Arms had been earmarked for appraisal - alas expectations were not met. Yet again a reminder, that experience should invariably take precedence over enthusiastic ventures.

Such a long journey on a Tuesday night for a game with little meaning for The Mighty Mariners, is no deterrent for the die-hard members of the B&W Army.

Despite reports to the contrary, The Lord proved to be alive and well.
Ancient Mariner Pete, having recovered from a severe bout of kneemonia was clearly back on parade & toasted the efforts of the B&W Army.
Hornblower ensured Old Clee Mariner Dave was well catered for.
With a 23 minute bladder capacity Dave could not have been in better hands.
This band of desperados - Gaz, Pete, a shy Paul, Judith C., Dave and a well wrapped Salty Old Sea Dog would strike fear in any opposition.
After intense preparations, Stuart and Hornblower appear ready for action.

As the game progressed the Prosecution Council had suggested that Hornblower was consistently reinforcing his reputation for voluminous observations coupled with tirades of critical comments at key moments. The defence Council vigorously denied such criticism, claiming a much more reasoned and balanced outlook - Hornblower’s fellow travellers would be the judge and jury of the case. It was believed that the jury would be unable to adjudicate for some time, it being suggested that the defence case would not be fully presented until approaching somewhere near Lincoln at approx 0400 hours!



                      Traditional Devon Pasty.                5/10          Shortcrust pastry - good but so dry
                                                                                              that parts were very hard.
                                                                                              Average filling. Below average size.

                                                                                              All condiments available

                      Steak and Tribute Cornish Bake.    9/10         Pastry shortcrust - excellent.
                                                                                              Very good meat and discernible
                                                                                              potato content.

                                                                                              Bovril again seemingly stronger
                                                                                              than usual?


The Holloway Era started by deploying settled line-ups which produced an almost instantly positive change of style, a discernible rise in confidence levels and an improvement in results. The 6 changes made in the last game was followed here by a repeat 6 changes. When changes were made for the victorious trip to Colchester all was deemed as astute management. Changes that lead to defeat, bring forth accusations of ‘tinkering’

An opening 15 minutes suggested a competitive match was likely.
But poor team defending rather than individual mistakes led to a half-time deficit of three. Town’s tactics left the centre-backs exposed but as much as this was a factor, it was no excuse for the overall poor team defending.

Town appeared to be equal competitors in the second half after the introduction of Pollock for Benson and a switch to 3-4-3. However the game was effectively over and few real chances were created.

It was difficult to find real positives but those who were fearing a second half avalanche were at least spared some pain.

Histon Mariners Man of the Match : 205 B&W ARMY FOOT-SOLDIERS

Post match analysis was deemed unlikely to raise significant and/or useful footballing insights. However most welcome hospitality was forthcoming at the excellent Green Taverners, the home of the Pilgrim Supporters Club.

Inside a tremendous exchange of views, stories, total bollocks and memories were swapped, shared and exchanged with Pilgrim supporters. A terrific joining up of Real Football Fans.

Pilgrim Malcom, East Halton Mariner Mike And Pilgrim Mark acknowledge shared values as Real Football Fans.
GTFC Larry and Wakefield Mariner Jason, even after defeat, embrace the joys of Real Football Fans.
East Halton Mandy struggles to comprehend the total nonsense shared by Pilgrim Brian and Mike.

A late night Horlicks at The Union Rooms in line with expectations prior to a well deserved retreat to the Billet - tomorrow would be another day.
Excellent recuperation. Marvellous vitals. Taxi on time. An encouraging start plus the inevitable South Devon rain reassured that normal service had been resumed.

Looking forward to an ice-cream.


P.S. It was reported in the early hours of the morning as the Caistor by-pass was approached a certain Band of Desperadoes, exhausted by Hornblowers Defence Council, finally voted guilty as charged!

07.03.20 Scunthorpe United 0 v 2 GTFC

Scunthorpe United v GTFC Ticket
Scunthorpe United v GTFC Ticket

Though mentioned in The Doomsday Book, Scunthorpe is essentially a mid 19th century development to exploit local ironstone. It is Lincolnshires third largest population centre behind Lincoln and Grimsby but ahead of Grantham, Boston and Cleethorpes.

With no Scunthorpe breweries it would be a dereliction of duty not to mention Axeholme Brewery (Dock Beers) b.2012 in Crowle (10miles away). Also Dark Tribe b.1996 in East Butterwick (7miles away)

Given the geography it is inevitable that the list of players for both sides is substantial. It includes Angus Davidson (Town 65-69:Irons 69-77), Craig Wiggington (68-75 and 78-82:75-77), Mike Cruczman (71-76 and 80-82:76-79), Rod Fletcher (73-75:71-73), Malcom Partridge (74-79:79-82), Tony Ford (75-86 and 91-94:94-96),Nigel Batch (77-87:91-92 *1 game only), Kevin Kilmore (79-83:76-80), Paul Groves (92-96 and 97-04:03-04), Tony Daws (92-94:87-93), Craig Shakespeare (93-97:97-98), Jamie Forrester (94-97:96-98), Terry Barwick (05-06:99-04), Peter Beagrie (06-07:01-06), Lee Ridley (10-11:00-07) and Sean McAllister (16-18:13-16).
Charles Vernam was an Iron youth before escaping to Derby County.

With kick-off time brought forward to 13.00hrs - routines are inevitably disrupted though it is essential to adhere to normal patterns as much as possible.

As ever the start was the essential cycle ride to Cambridge Station. Through the depths of winter this experience is pre-sunrise and usually ‘rather chilly’. On this day, the train at 05.57 enabled the first-leg north to witness the famously spectacular Fenland sunrise.

Only those born and bred to the flat world of the Fens can talk of those areas with a sense of normality but such spectacular views can certainly engender a feel good factor that encourages hope and optimism - “its a sign!”

Onwards to Doncaster. The early start limited the available options for prematch preparations but experienced campaigner Wakefield Mariner Jason, assumed command of proceedings to ensure the best start possible.

Wakefield Mariner Jason at Doncaster Station in meticulous planning mode.
The Mallard provided a Fully English and refreshing start to the days Campaign.

Arrival at Scunthorpe Station was like entering an area designated high risk from enemy invasion. The number of uniformed personnel and film crews in hope of ‘footage’ reflects an era dogged by over-reaction. The absence of common-sense, that produces such an over-reaction, is plausibly a contributing factor that assists a self-prophesizing dynamic that exaggerates the initial perceived scenario.

How effective a 13.00 kick-off is, is at best a matter of conjecture. The assumed 120 minute less pre-match preparation time is hardly insurmountable in this day and age.


Enjoyment for Real Football Fans will always be in spite
of the authorities rather than because of them!

However in the parallel universe of Real Football Fans were common decency prevails, regular Irons fan, Geordie Ken was at the station to renew acquaintances and welcome The Histon Mariners.

Wakefield Mariner Jason with Ken, the Geordie Iron.

The allocated 2090 tickets had been devoured by The B&W Army. With optimism justifiably in the ascendancy, discussion about ticket allocation next season was beginning to be heard at matches. If - if - a realistic promotion push materialised in 2020/21 many opponents would not be able to accommodate a full turn out of The B&W Army. Such thoughts would have been considered essentially fantastical at the end of 2019 - now such thoughts were beginning to permeate the psyche.

Hebden Bridge M. Carl, appeared free of H20 issues just as Jolly Boy Pete appeared to be Kneemonia free.
Histon Mariner and GTFC Larry appeared in fine fettle and fully refreshed from their Sth. Devon escapades.
Also back from Devon adventures, East Halton M’s Mike & Mandy.
An optimistic Lisa witnesses McMike trying to raise a smile.
A full report was soon on the way to Purley.
Mrs Fish’s mind wanders as Youth protégée Sophie plans a life on the oceans waves, whilst The Fish concentrates on Ollie’s team selection.
Airdrieonians M. and new father Will, conferred with Roy Cropper on the Holloway factor
Solo M. Alistair wonders about ‘Scoop Seeking Jason’
A sprightly duo with matching hats and scarves!



                                Steak Pie.                  7/10                  Meat & gravy content above
                              (Choice of 4)                                        average (just) but...

                                                                                           Very hot thus difficult to eat.

                                                                                           No salt, pepper - only red sauce.

Queued from 12.07 until 12.33 - appalling service (total absence of management).
The attendance figures appeared to have been a surprise!!!

Food & drink ran out at half-time!!!!!!


Derby M. Andy enthusiastically encourages. The Engine implores caution.
The Squire was naturally given a front row seat. Mr. and Mrs Engine (minus junior accomplices) adhere to correct protocol by bringing up the rear.

When one team attempts to play a passing game against one who set up essentially to frustrate, employing a direct long ball offensive approach, then many will deem the game to be scrappy.
It has been normal practise for decades, that a referee of a likely high intensity derby fixture will early on clamp down on physicality, in order to set the tone. This was not applied and resulted in reckless challenges that ended in serious injury and a red card.
The Mariners were just the better side in the first half ending 0 v 0. Elliott Hewitt patrolled excellently in front of the back four.
Luke Hendrie showed no sign of carrying an injury and Billy Clarke was again Towns most inventive player.

Second half saw Davis taken off as a precaution being replaced by Matt Pollock.
                                          “Six foot two, eyes of blue,
                                          Big Matt Pollocks after you”

With Hanson injured and the Irons playing 3 centre-backs, there were calls in the first-half to stop putting crosses into the Irons box. 2 headed goals from Vernam and Waterfall in 9 minutes, disproved many an expert analysis.
The last half-hour was comfortable for Town, with no clear chances for the Irons despite considerable huffing and puffing.
The result of lenient refereeing early-on resulted in more and more reckless challenges culminating in the Irons being reduced to 10 men, Glennon leaving with a possible broken foot and ‘handbags’ on the touch line with a booking for Limbrick.

A ground with facilities and service considerably worse than Blundell, with over-stewarding and policing to the fore at the wrong kick-off time, were factors that collectively overshadowed a good victory over a poor side.

Histon Mariners Man of the Match : ELLIOTT HEWITT

Post-match analysis convened briefly at the Blue Bell Inn before relocating at The Hallcross. However a grave error appeared to have been made- the grade one listed heritage hostelry The Little Plough was missed!!

Whilst The Hallcross supplied perfectly suitable refreshment, The Little Plough is apparently an absolute gem that is demanding of a full inspection - this will be a priority task of The Histon Mariners ASAP.

At last a deserved ice cream.



Absolutely gutted! The Histon Mariners had a pleasant start to the weekend’s campaign, the rail journey north to Cleethorpes with the change at Peterborough was on schedule. However all was interrupted by Lisa’s S.O.S. call from the Blundell ticket office informing of the postponement of the football world. This initial call was followed by equally philanthropic calls from Master Strategist of The Jolly Boyz and Ray The Fish all of which resulted in a rather forlorn ‘U turn’. Absolutely gutted!

The plan had been:    - cycle from home to station.
                                   - 10.00 train Cambridge to Cleethorpes.
                                   - late lunch @ Steeles.
                                   - quick stop @ Willys.
                                   - book in @ Kingsway.
                                   - more leisurely stop @ The Notts.
                                   - meet up with Jolly Boyz.
                                   - Cameron’s tap-takeover @ Dock Beers......!
                                   - Trust Bar for Exiles Evening with Mr.Holloway.
                                   - later developments left to the imagination, hopefully / probably
                                     with friends anew......
                                   - fall into Kingsway.

                                   - Full English @ The Kingsway.
                                   - stop @ Willys.
                                   - stop @ The Notts.
                                   - check in @ McMenemys and The Trust Bar.
                                   - talk bollocks about previous evening.
                                   - watch The Mighty Mariners collect 3 points following 3 v 0 victory.
                                   - post-match analysis @ New Imperial Club.
                                   - final refreshment @ No.2 Bar
                                   - 19.26 Cleethorpes to Cambridge train.
                                   - cycle from station to home.

Absolutely gutted! Should not have ‘U turned’, typing the above reinforced the feeling, absolutely gutted!

COVID - 19!

14.03.20 GTFC v Carlisle United

17.03.20 GTFC v Cambridge United

21.03.20 Cheltenham Town v GTFC

28.03.20 GTFC v Plymouth Argyle

04.04.20 Newport County v GTFC

10.04.20 Port Vale v GTFC

13.04.20 GTFC v Walsall

18.04.20 Crewe Alexandra v GTFC

25.04.20 GTFC v Oldham Athletic

The above 9 games were all cancelled. The season was over. At this point, very few could envisage a glass half-full, the Campaign, like the whole world, was put on hold - but not even the Corona virus could destroy the fundamental underlying principles that would surely re-emerge alongside The Mighty Mariners.


Up The Mariners! 

Thanks to css zen garden for the layout.